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What's Gourmet Food?

Updated on May 12, 2016

Gourmet food? According to definition, its’ food that is well prepared, seasoned properly and presented artfully. Well then, could a peanut butter and jelly sandwich be considered gourmet if it meets these criteria? I BELIEVE SO! Most people think that gourmet refers to rare, expensive, five star ingredients, only accessible to the well off. This concept sends shock waves through my system. For one thing, an individual who appreciates good food and drink is referred to as a gourmet. There is no stipulation to origin, expense or standing in the socioeconomic structure. That's so far from the truth. What really is gourmet food?

Not your normal steak and potatoes

My personal opinion is the term is more about pleasure and appreciation than exclusivity or expense. A perfect example is Gourmet magazine, whose pages are filled with recipes for everything from hot dogs and hamburgers to foie gras and truffles. Food that's done well and tastes great is all that matters. In the foodie universe, macaroni and cheese is on the same level as a goat cheese souffle as long as it's fabulous. Of course, there is a place for high end food and wine but, doesn't that boil down to a pleasurable experience rather than status or exclusion. Food snobs take note. French cuisine is the world standard when gourmet food is discussed. But, its' basic regional dishes like roast chicken and beef stews are the backbone that the French people cherish and enjoy. Do Americans have to visit a Michelin three star to have a gourmet experience? I don't think so!

The American food scene today is focused on local sustainable ingredients. Food grown, cooked and eaten within a reasonable distance of where it's consumed always taste better. Meat, poultry or seafood raised or caught locally in a natural way is a much healthier, delicious and humane option as well. For me, food is all about flavor and nutrition foremost not decadence. Whether it's filet mignon or tofu, porcini mushrooms or potatoes, a meal cooked correctly, well seasoned plated beautifully is what I prefer. The emphasis should be taste and preparation and not any other high brow expectations.

Nose to Tail Eating

The biggest trend in the food world today is nose to tail cuisine. Taking a whole animal and using every edible part. The so-called pioneer of this philosophy is Fergus Henderson. The reasoning behind so-called is that poor people around the world have eaten this way forever. At his restaurant, St. John, this UK chef has garnered international acclaim for his preparation of ox heart, pigs' head and tail, seagull eggs, monkfish cheek and beef pancreas. The concept has spread to America where, in San Francisco, Chris Cosentino, at Incanto has started serving a whole beast (mainly pig) menu to his patrons. Gourmet food?

2014 Trends in Food

The hottest food experience today are food trucks. They deliver gourmet munchies to the masses at very reasonable prices. Great food on wheels. Everything from burgers and hot dogs to every ethnic cuisine that you can think of. Even established restaurants have been joining the movement showcasing their specialties to a much wider audience, attracting new clientele for their brick and mortar establishments. This phenomenon isn't going anywhere. The food truck business will continue to grow and prosper.

As you can see, gourmet foods auspicious label isn't as exclusionary as you thought.

Long live great food...

Even Gourmet Food Trucks???


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