great taste is always in season

Grace Cuisine

Where has all the crockery gone?

Any chef can attest to the fact that presentation plays a role in enjoyment of a meal.    But where is the line between appetizingly presented meals, and just outright silly pretension?  As trendy restaurants abandon traditional plates in favor of some truly outlandish options, you have to really wonder about the motivations, and the results, of these crazy experiments.  

There are a couple things to bear in mind when considering this madness.  First of all, the most appetizing (and safe) thing for any dinner guest is cleanliness.  Traditional food service crockery is sanitized after every use in a high temperature, industrial dishwasher.  Can the same be said about wooden boards, toys, bricks, shoes or caps?  No, of course not.  You may think it isn't a big deal, but some of these objects really can't be easily or properly cleaned.  Yet these are used in a food service environment, are handled by many people throughout the day, and are used to serve food.  The bacteria will grow day by day.  Perhaps the restaurateurs are throwing them out after one use?  Sure, that makes environmental and economic sense, and it's what I want to pay for when I go out to eat.  

Second, the idea doesn't really work.  When surveyed, most guests don't like the wacky options.  They can be incredibly messy, make eating difficult, not contain the meal properly, and can really trump the food itself.  Items like this don't connote food, don't remind us of meals, or dining.  It's instantly off-putting for many guests.  

Finally, you really have to wonder about the motivations, especially when you see the bill at the end of the meal.  There is, undoubtedly, some art and creativity to good food preparation.  But that lies in the best ingredients, solid cooking skills and a real understanding of how to prepare a variety of items, of what goes well together, and what flavors work.  That kind of simple, refined talent can't be substituted by serving the food in a shoe.   Is it ego that is the motivation here?  If so, you have to wonder why the preparation of great food itself doesn't satisfy the chefs and owners of these establishments, since isn't that what food service is all about? 

My father always used to tell me, "in all things, keep it simple and you can't go wrong." While it may be funny to laugh at this food service craziness, it also speaks to a trend that is probably a good idea to openly reject.  It's often not hygienic, leads to artificially inflated prices, makes a lot more work for food service staff, and can detract from, if not ruin, the dining experience. When it comes to eating out, you can vote with your dollar.  Pretension and food are never a good combination.   So vote for the best possible food, not the craziest presentation.


By: Hannah
On: 06/04/2016 12:14:48
That is disgusting! I totally agree! I would walk out if they served my food that way
By: Anna
On: 06/04/2016 13:03:38
I had this experience once! It was a restaurant where they thought it was clever to serve things straight onto the table. I am not kidding! All I could think the whole time was am I eating the cleaner used to wipe down the table? Am I eating bacteria? Also, you can't send it back if anything is wrong because they have to clean it off the table and serve it again. None of us were comfortable. But it is hard to just "walk out"... it is embarrassing. I never went back, of course. I think it's a sign of failure to do this kind of thing. Or desperation.
By: John
On: 06/04/2016 22:31:03
It's just arrogance, plain and simple. I don't mean to sound judgemental, or overly harsh, but I think these places deserve to really fail. They use tricks to inflate prices and I think even pose a health hazard to unwary consumers. I hope this stupid trend ends.
By: Vince
On: 06/06/2016 07:49:36
Those images! MEGA LOL!

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