I will be celebrating my 10th year in the United States in 2013. I flew in from London and never left this amazing country!
I had the chance to live and visit different cities around the US and during these last 10 years, I have seen the evolution of our industry at every level.
Just look today at the popularity of the TV/food shows! There are so many!
People and Americans are really getting into food more and more! From the increase in food and wine retail gourmet stores, to the rising number of Celebrity Chefs – it is not a trend but here to stay.
Chefs are now celebrities and promote the art of fine and good dining! It starts at home with families selecting healthy choices, organic products, and making smart choices for their children. As such, the development of gourmet food chains evolved – Whole Foods, Bristol Farms, Trader Joe’s, to name a few. There has been an increase in popularity of food markets that started hundreds of years ago in Europe, and an increase in Food and Wine Festivals, which I believe every city in this country, has at least one nowadays.
In addition, there are also a number of cookbooks in the market. Celebrity Chefs are now writers too! I have a large collection myself of cookbooks from the greatest Chefs!
With an increasing number of people dining healthier, followed by an exercise regimen, more and more people are becoming health fanatics.
10 YEARS AGO IT WASN’T LIKE THIS!!!
So what changed?
First of all, good food tastes good and makes you feel good. It is that simple! This is not news. This was a message Escoffier delivered many years ago!
In the current environment where we are, all are so busy and so stressed with our day to day lives; however, good food and good wine makes us feel better!
More and more foodies! This is contagious!
It is easier to travel and get exposed to great food. We are bringing Italy, France, Asia, etc…back to the US!
Growers, farmers, wine makers are also doing a better job. There is too much competition. Consumers today are quality driven. This is not just about volume anymore; it is now about producing an extraordinary product!
So, what else has changed! ……….We did! We are looking for better stuff – from the truffle salt, the virgin olive oil imported from Italy, the dry meats: Prosciutto de Parma, Coppa, the greatest artisan cheeses, the nicest bread (baguette, focaccia, Ciabatta, etc..) and the list goes on and on!!!!
We are changing. We are more educated about food, produce, wines, liquors and we are now looking for specific products.
One more thing has changed in the last 10 years: globalization. We are travelling more, and we are now more exposed to foreign products and cultures, with good quality products now being imported into America.
American food is not about fast food and BBQ anymore, although it remains a classic. Today, a burger could be a choice of kobe or prime beef, with a vast selection of buns, cheese (from gruyere, to Roquefort, and American cheese of course!) and the veggies.
It is only getting better!
On the restaurant scene, the bar has been raised too with all the big named Chefs opening restaurants in this country. There are a lot of different concepts but with only one thing in common: deliver a great dining experience for the guests, from the Gastro-Pub, the sandwich or Panini shop, the steakhouse, the fish house to the greatest fine dining! We are getting more than just good food; we are travelling and gaining great experiences!
So now, what is next!?
It is going to get even better!
Children who once dreamt of becoming a doctor or lawyer are now aspiring to become the next top Chef. There are more advanced and great culinary schools these days. My recent visit to the CIA in Napa was eye opening. I wished I would have studied and learned culinary in such an amazing condition: outstanding facilities, passionate crew of professors, Chefs, and consultants present to train and share their knowledge with the students.
Chefs are getting challenged to come up with new and greater ideas. The competition is more intense. They now have to reinvent, create, innovate, and surprise their audience.
My final point is that you do not know it yet, but soon you will have your own garden at home and you will look at your tomatoes growing on the vines and seasonal products handpicked from your own backyard. Only a few fortunate get to have this privilege today, but it will surely evolve.
Soon, I will own a piece of vineyard in the south of France and make a remarkable wine just for my friends to share!
What is in your mind?