Theme #3: Gastronomi
Gastronomy - the tool for better food
How do we use the success and popularity of top gastronomy to ensure better food for more urban people and better culinary quality in all big kitchens? What if democratization of gastronomy could give a greater number of consumers better access to food with high culinary quality and more awareness about good food?
Why discuss gastronomy as a tool for better food?
The quality – or the lack of quality - of the food we eat has health implications. While culinary quality is often associated with fine dining and gastronomy it should not be reserved for the few. Through a democratiza-tion of gastronomy good food and good food experiences can be spread to more people and greater awareness about good food created.
By placing gastronomy in new popular contexts it becomes accessible to more people and the gastronomy values on culinary quality can be unleashed. One way to do this is through learning initiatives that strengthen cooking and gastronomy skills among the consumers and the consumers-to-be, children and young people through schools, kindergartens, cooking schools etc.
Taking traditionally undistinguished and cheap food such as burgers and hotdogs and lifting the culinary quality is an example of how gastronomy can be a tool to ensure better food. Another example is the introduction of foreign cuisines that may appear elitist and inaccessible such as sushi and making them accessible. The reintroduction of (forgotten) traditional food in a modernized and refined version by leading chefs can also be a way of lifting the culinary quality and creating greater awareness about food and pride about traditional food.
The above mentioned are all examples of food trends that often start in cities. While the urban consumer wants food options that are quick, easy and affordable healthy and high-quality food is also in demand. In this way, the cities themselves can be a driver for better quality food.
The mean household final consumption expenditure on food varies to a high extend. The countries in the EU that spend the smallest share of their private consumption on food are Luxembourg, Great Britain, Austria, Ireland and Denmark (approx. 10 %). The overall median food spending for U.S. households has declined considerably over the period of 2000-2010. Less spending on food would not be problematic if households were spending amounts adequate to obtain a healthy diet. However, the evidence is that they are not – they spend less than the U.S.D.A defined level that many experts already consider to be inadequate.
Challenges of using gastronomy as a tool for better food – investigating the problem:
- How do we create greater awareness about what we eat and quality food – are we simply used to eating rubbish, and is healthy and high-quality food accessible for the urban Citizens
- Does a high price equal high quality or can a high quality be obtained in another way and is food with high culinary quality only for the wealthiest?
- Can a higher level of cooking skills lead to better food quality within the same economic frame in private homes as well as in big kitchens and how can these skills be enabled?
Solutions - investigating opportunities of gastronomy as a tool for better food:
- The success and popularity of top gastronomy as a tool for better food for more people by getting people interested in food. Social media and food journalism as a means to “feed” that growing interest and guide urban consumers to good food experiences
- Big kitchens as a provider of food with culinary quality that is also affordable.
Putting emphasis on the traditional gastronomy and reinventing it in a modern society.