Gastronomy has a history that stretches back to the beginning of mankind. What we eat is shaped by geography, war, exploration, and social and technological advancements. It is an essential part of our human existence. We all eat food. We all need food, what varies is how we all experience food.
In the last few centuries there have been major changes to how we interact, engage, consume and value food and dining. Everything from “Nouvelle Cuisine”, to “Molecular Gastronomy”, to “Modernist Cuisine” to “Neurogastronomy” has led us to today’s intricacies of the “Experience Economy.” Chefs are cooking with emotion unlike ever seen before and diners are the ones driving the course of culinary perfection.
Welcome to the world of “Multisensory Gastronomy” or Gastrophysics. Diners want to feel the dining experience along with the tastes – it’s all about exciting the diner, engaging them on every sensory level and tapping into their emotions. Chefs at all levels are being challenged to increase the levels of creativity. Here are a few ideas on how to tap into and elevate that creativity.
Link with Technology
Most notable, the sous vide has altered the preparation of meats and veggies in the kitchen. Once solely used by high-end establishments, this cooking method has trickled down to varieties of restaurants and gastro-pubs. Technological advancements make such equipment accessible to all and this way of cooking is becoming mainstream.
Prominence of Plating
When is the last time you saw diners without their phones? With the ever-growing foodie scene, it’s essential your plating design isn’t overlooked. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Yelp…the list goes on. Don’t be afraid to capitalize on the free publicity and marketing! Many diners are keen to take the best-looking picture they can, so opt to present your dishes with an artistic flare.
The Human Perception
We all can be faced with the exact same experience. however, the takeaways are undoubtedly going to be different. No two people will savor an ingredient, or dish, in the same way and yet the majority of people can appreciate and articulate their experience, likes and dislikes. In recent years, studies have shown that the environment in which people experience food and flavors can interfere or add to a diners’ experience. Create an ambience in which people can enjoy and immerse themselves in your menu.
Before the Table
Gastronomy is all about the diner. We are moving away from the time of culinary creations focusing on the chef as the focal point. Now the focus is on the food and the experience; the story is not only about what is on the plate, but how it got there. Here in lies the opportunity to create a connection for diners with what they are eating evoking an emotional response that will have them returning time and time again.