Specialty Food Magazine

Spring 2018

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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q&a Izabela Wojcik, director of house program- ming for the James Beard Foundation There has been a huge shift in fine dining to more nuanced iterations, such as relaxed fine dining, or modern fine dining. Some of the traditional trappings (posh linens; delicate china; formal, hushed service; gendered service; big spaces between tables) have gone away in favor of more modern architectural choices such as stone, metal, and/or wooden dining surfaces; pottery dishes; designer aprons for f loor staff; and loud din- ing spaces with music. And a noticeably more youthful, more casual dining public incorporates technology and catalogs dining experiences. I'm also seeing more complex and technique-driven cooking, and increased focus on using the whole ingredient or even unconventional ingredients, at play on the menus. And the idea of local and seasonal has jumped to beverage programs, especially in the showcasing of small, artisanal producers of wine and spirits. The spaces that define fine dining have changed, got- ten smaller, or have crept up in unexpected locations, such as obscure neighborhoods or venues. The teams that cook in the kitchen are smaller and leaner (figuratively speaking). We also see more women are cooking. There's an increased pres- ence in temporary or pop-up spaces, as well as an emergence of private dining clubs and guest chef collaborations that are producing some very high-end meals. Anna Castellani, managing partner of Dekalb Market Hall I don't think full-service restaurants are going to go the way of the dodo bird. What we are seeing now, however, is a youthful freshening up of the service model. Younger consumers eat most of their meals out of their house or order-in, which is changing the foodservice market from one where you went out as a treat to one where you eat out all the time. Obviously, this requires restaurants to serve faster, more casual and, in general, more affordable meals. Restaurants will continue to play increasingly important roles in people's culinary and social lives, albeit in less formal surroundings. Chef Tu David Phu, Chef/owner of AN-A Vietnamese Dining Experience It depends on how and when you use the term fine dining. What's the setting? 1970s? California? Or 2018? I speculate that consum- ers are referring to dining establishments that aspire to provide the finest foods and services their region has to offer. At least that would in the pre-2000s era or white-tablecloth days. However, when the 2007–2009 global financial crisis hit, it bankrupted a significant amount of dining institutions and models. Due to the significant amount of closures, consumers naturally started to trend toward more informal dining and a revolution was to begin. Post financial crisis there was a void. Consumers wanted the finest foods but the fine-dining institutions were not around to provide it. Thanks to advancements in the technology sector, food entrepreneurs utilized technology to provide new services to offer the finest foods without the white tablecloths and/or the restaurant. Institutions like Caviar, Blue Apron, Feastly, who all provide informal dining experiences can attest to that. It is also reflective in today's modern grocery markets; you can now get truffles at Costco; whole animals at Whole Foods; and Beluga caviar at Bi-Rite. Consumers now have the same access and qual- ity that most traditional fine-dining restaurants get. Fueled and echoed by social media food influencers, brands are confirming this trend toward more informal dining by spon- soring these influencers. As of 2018, the definition of fine dining hasn't changed but expanded to include restaurants that provide the finest foods and services their region has to offer with or with- out the white tablecloths. Julie Gallagher is managing editor of Specialty Food Magazine. "Some of the traditional trappings (posh linens; delicate china; formal, hushed service; gendered service; big spaces between tables) have gone away in favor of more modern architectural choices such as stone, metal, and/ or wooden dining surfaces; pottery dishes; designer aprons for floor staff; and loud dining spaces with music." In what ways has the fine-dining model shifted from its white-tablecloth days? Q: 50 ❘ SPECIALTY FOOD MAGAZINE specialtyfood.com

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