Why does service sometimes feel magical and, on other occasions, seem positively animatronic? At what point does mechanical precision serve to sap the expression of genuine emotion? And how do bastions of hospitality ensure that their employees can truly connect with guests and make them feel unique?
At what point does fine dining begin to lose its luster? When do totemic luxury ingredients begin to taste the same? And why—up until a certain point—do tasting menus pale in comparison to fast food?
Thoughts on the Chicago dining scene’s latest mocktroversy.
Thoughts on the future of restaurant criticism and its intersection with video game criticism.
You revel in the fear you once felt when entering revered dining rooms. You treasure the technical errors, faux pas, and outright mortification inflicted upon those who stewarded your earliest gastronomic experiences. For the true test of hospitality staff is how handle those agonizing moments with aplomb, resisting the temptation to twist the knife and solidify a bad memory. Graciousness, on such an occasion, comes close to godliness.
While OAD’s survey-based rankings offer a valuable counterpoint to fine dining’s entrenched powers, the organization’s legitimization of social media self-aggrandizement represents the very peak of competitive conspicuous consumption. Chefs who cater to this globetrotting cabal do so to the detriment of their own communities, impeding the development of an inclusive, distinctive regional taste.
Diversity, the death of insight, and the necessity of playing nice.
With more and more restaurants embracing the world’s most popular culinary genre, it pays to know just which vision of “Italy” one will be exploring in a given dining room.
The “Mickey Mouse factor” refers to the phenomenon in which children who are picky eaters at home are willing to try all sorts of new foods within Disney’s theme parks. If you extricate the concept from its theme park setting and apply it towards dining writ large, the mechanism actually proves quite enlightening.
Sadly, Kim’s attacks work to slow the process of cultural exchange by which the next generation–standing on the shoulders of all those who have struggled before them–finds the acceptance he sorely lacked. The real shame is that Chicago’s food press has indulged in Kim’s narrative of victimhood, incentivizing the sort of tantrum that seeks to suffocate the generation of new recipes–without inhibition–in utero.