Sunday, November 20, 2011

What is a "Foodie"? [rant in progress]

For those who have been regular readers of this, have no doubt realize my distain for foodies. So what is my idea of a "foodie"? Well, it could be anyone who steals everything that's beautiful about our profession and turns it into a side show.. or more accurately, a slide show.

Foodies are the ones who annoyingly take pictures at restaurants, go home, then blog about their experience to the world. What's worse, they have an overwhelming urge to assume the role of food critic. They've marginalized our profession to nothing more than 160x120 thumbnails. After all, I don't take pictures of my daily excrement to report on last evening's gastronomic indiscretions. Treat shit like shit. Food deserves to be eaten. Don't come into my restaurant, and leave a dish of time-sensitive fois gras dying on the plate. Or have your dining partner wait until you have satiated your selfish urges, before they're able to satiate theirs. It isn't just a matter of etiquette. It just makes sense.

I don't have a problem with picture taking. What I despise are those who seem to have something to prove, a self-driven desire to boast about their meals, or feel compelled to give an unqualified critique of what they've consumed. It's the nit-pickers, those snobby little parasites, that, with Michelin-like commentary, satisfies their need to feel important. The chronically-, obsessively-, compulsively-, pathologically-inclined asshole with an over-sized ego, and an under-sized camera who probably half-assed their way through most their life and now just wants to be part of another trend. 

Anyone with an internet connection and the ability to put two brain cells together could google "maltodextrin", and suddenly they're experts on how to turn liquid fats into powders. Who are they to tell me what the next food trends are, or that my glace de viande lacked body? Just because they may know what half the ingredients are on the menu, doesn't mean they know what to do with them. Even if they knew how to produce the results, they've already taken away the experience by dissecting it. And that's the danger in trying to imitate without first understanding the concepts. Do not, under any circumstances, position yourself as an expert, unless you are willing to put yourself on the line to learn the material.

Bice Curiger, the editor-in-chief of Parkett magazine, talks extensively about Ferran Adria's relationship with his followers, and the dangers of imitation. She says that "[these] followers merchandise the idea of 'op art' (optical art), putting it into design, turning it into fashion, making it for money". This commercialization essentially blurs the lines between those who truly give a shit about food, and those who simply pretend to.

Knowledge, creativity and talent is cultivated through dedication and hard work. There are no shortcuts. If you want pictures, get them from the website. Otherwise, just eat the fuckin' food.

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