Food & restaurants

Can we stop treating restaurants as a status symbol?

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High-end restaurants have always been fashion accessories, but getting the most unique restaurant has become a badge of honor.Helen Rosner wrote about our unhealthy obsession with scoring rezzies New Yorker Magazine This week, she recorded her efforts to successfully penetrate the Carbone gated community, a famous high-end Italian American restaurant in Greenwich Village. As we all know, Carbone is one of the most difficult tables in New York City. (Full disclosure: I was a captain there a few years ago.) Although Rosner relished the $30 Italian macaroni and Caesar salad she prepared at the table, she seemed to feel that she had bought a coveted table in the same restaurant that Drake and Bella Hadid liked the most. Surprised.

New York City changed drastically in the late 1990s, when uptown celebrities such as Coco Pazzo and Sign of The Dove were haunted by Leonardo DiCaprio. (Leonardo DiCaprio) Replaced by the velvet rope coolness of downtown club restaurants like Leonardo DiCaprio Old meeting place Momba, Cuba Asia and Balthazar. The enthusiasm for chefs and new gourmet experiences is so common today that it has only just begun to bubble. The popularity of restaurants once defined by longevity has become fleeting and manic. In the following decades, the catering industry became ruled by the rich, and table reservations became a Darwinian practice, making some guests feel imperialist, while others felt inadequate.

Diners begin to measure their self-worth by their ability to enter the most popular restaurants. Cracking the code usually requires a full frontal attack, pulling out any and all stops to get into the door. The fine dining restaurant has always been a dim boudoir used to complete commercial transactions, but by the early 2000s, the romance disappeared and the bedroom became a brothel.

The insecurity of being excluded from fashionable venues (with very few reasons) is always the source of the most harmful behavior of guests.As food writer Alicia Kennedy pointed out in her article Recent newsletter, Restaurant staff are forced to bear an emotional burden for those feelings of insecurity. Maybe this is why few restaurant employees come back To their work.

In her diagnosis of Capone, Rosner concluded: “For those involved, status is an indispensable item.” She is still cautious about how restaurant stars and celebrity worship like Carbone deteriorate. But her work still seems to show that this hierarchy is indelible for New York City dining, and, as concepts like Carbone colonize other cities such as Miami, scrambling for table seats will serve as a counterpoint to diners. There is a touchstone of value. “Proposing an impossible reservation,” she admits shyly, “will trigger a strange, almost embarrassing sense of victory.” This is embarrassing.

Four Seasons Restaurant, the location of the original “Power Lunch”

I have seen nuclear leaks caused by customers who are unable to purchase tables on their own terms, and adults behave like toddlers screaming when they are denied entry. Management seldom sanctions annoyed guests who are overly well-behaved. Hotel professionals did not have the luxury of discipline. The precepts of customer service require us to meet the needs of those who are not worthy, even those who believe that entering a restaurant can make up for their shortcomings. This is one of the many dangers in our existence.

Measured by the status given to the restaurant by the restaurant seems to be out of step with the transition of American political trends to progressiveism. During the awkward transition period between Trump and President Biden, American society has accepted the equivalent of ideology, in four years of constipation caused by the over-defined political system of pornographic Reaganism, corporate greed, and invulnerable individuals. after that. The restaurant has always been a good partner for gluttons.

Since unconditional trust in the free market tends to widen the gap between rich and poor and racial inequality, a winner-takes-all environment, especially in high-end restaurants, hinders any real progress in solving these problems.As #me too with Black people’s fate is also fate Gradually weakening the armor, women and chefs of color continue to work hard to infiltrate the catering industry that has always shown them institutional ignorance.

This is why food media must avoid using language that attaches status to certain restaurants rather than others.It’s one thing to say a restaurant is good; another suggestion is a restaurant It’s great for you. Diners tend to pursue restaurants more actively, which they think is a forbidden fruit.

Hype comes at a price. On the surface, treating restaurants in this way will dehumanize them. They have become precious gadgets that can be owned and collected, inanimate objects whose main purpose is to make people look as fashionable as a pair of Prada shoes or Gucci wallets. If the restaurant exists to make customers more fashionable, then the people working in it are just beautifying stylists. Their performance can only be measured by their faculty and staff because they make the people they serve look good.

First of all, let us admit that the status of today’s high-end restaurants is dominated by white people.See how the food media gushed about Daniel Humm’s decision Eleven Madison Park’s Menu Vegetarian When many other famous chefs like Dominique Crenn lived in this space before him.

According to Rosner, everyone at Carbone seems to be rich and “very professional.”I can’t talk about the racial makeup of the restaurant that night, but I can say that from my years of working in a fine dining restaurant, most of the people dining in it are also overwhelming. WhiteContinuing to spread the status narrative (the nostalgia that Rosner seems to be tired of) will only reinforce the ideal nature of whites as a criterion of exclusivity.

Food media may support female chefs and chefs of color, but it rarely frames stories in terms of exclusivity and access rights.

Women and chefs of color may prepare a variety of delicious food, but the food media is unlikely to describe it as a unique or aspiring experience. This is part of the reason why it is difficult for non-white and non-male chefs to compete for resources. There may be critics promoting the work of LGBTQ, BIPOC, and female chefs, but even the most determined allies rarely attach status to their admiration. When we read about them, these chefs always provide different flavors of forbidden fruit, which is never enough to enhance personal value. However, we shouldn’t expect this from any restaurant experience from the beginning.


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