Top 10 Worst Dining Trends

23 10 2009

I’d like to take a bit of a departure today. I read this article  (,0,5192606.photogallery) from the Chicago tribune regarding the top 10 worst dining trends and thought it was spot on. I implore you to check it out and see what you do and don’t agree with, in terms of what is listed there. For those too lazy to click the mouse, here’s the list (and my opinion).

  • 10. Fried onion blossoms- I hate these things. They remind me of Outback, where I have never had one that didn’t contain an Exxon Valdez recreation on the plate. I have several friends from Australia; they do not have “bloomin’ onions” there. Anywhere. Here’s a tip to the places that serve these: You eat it. All of it. If you still want to serve this stuff after that, then my little sadistic friend, you need help.
  • 9. Molecular gastronomy- I have to agree here with Chef Chang who noted that a lot of these trends started out as something good. The problem here is everybody jumping on board to do a cutesy version of the latest trend. There are people and places, like Wylie Dufrense at WD~50 that pioneered this style and do it well. Done well, it takes dining to an exciting adventure level occurrence. For most experiences, it is like being at the stadium sitting through the Titans 59-0 loss to the Patriots, forced to watch because they’re “professionals” and it’s a professional game! When you suck, you suck-do what you do well or don’t do it at all.
  • 8. The $40 entrée- If it doesn’t have foie gras, Kobe beef, caviar or truffles, WTF?
  • 7. The communal table- If I wanted to sit with them, I would have brought them along. What’s next? Are they going to keep screaming babies and crying kids on the side so they can put them at our tables and have a “family experience”? There’s a reason we left everyone else at home.
  • 6. Proudly obnoxious fast food options- A 1,400+ calorie hamburger from Hardees. When we consume food as a dare do we really need to ask why 67% of America  is obese?
  • 5. Knee-jerk online reviews- OK, got to disagree here. I like on-line reviews. I like opening night reviews. I’ll either go to a place and make my own determination (yes, I trust my palate) or not. However, I do find the pre-visit commentary amusing, if not always helpful. As for saying it’s wrong to judge a restaurant on opening night is like saying it’s OK for some surgeon to screw up the operation because it’s his first one. If you open the doors, you best be ready and accountable.
  • 4. Foam- Another idea that started out well intentioned and in moderation is a good thing. If I see foams on everything it conveys to me that the Chef has no restraint. I want to taste, experience and eat the food. I don’t want to sit through courses of some attention deprived hack screaming “look at me.”  If I wanted to spend my evenings and money that way I’d still be married to my ex-wife.
  • 3. The menu as book- Agreed. I came to eat, not to read. See above comment. ’Nuff said.
  • 2. The chef as media whore- Rocco Di-Spirto.
  • 1. Deconstruction- This was so well said by Joyce Goldstein I’m just going to quote her here: “I do not want a poached egg on top of carbonara sauce and the pasta on the side. I don’t want the ingredients laid out before me anymore. I want a chef to show me how it is brought together. Cooking has become an intellectual thing, but it’s not a sensual thing. We have all gotten so smart about food, we are losing touch with sex appeal. Everything else is getting so exhausting — a lot of chefs saying, ‘Look at me,’ and ‘Look at this technique,’ and, next decade, I would prefer not to look at them for a while.”



4 responses

23 10 2009

Absoultely hilarious! I love your style and humor! Fresh and inspiring!

23 10 2009

Thanks for sharing the article….love your culinary and humorous insights! I agree with Joyce Goldstein when she says “Cooking has become an intellectual thing, but it’s not a sensual thing.” I think there are chefs and home cooks who have not lost touch with the sensual, alchemical way of connecting with the food they prepare….

23 10 2009

Yes, Sexy not only sells, it tastes yummy too.

24 10 2009
Wendy Rule

Very funny indeed. And as an Australian, I can vouch for the fact that I’ve never met anyone here who has eaten, cooked, or actually seen a fried onion blossom!

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