It’s my birthday today and I wanted to take the opportunity to talk about something that came up recently; namely, where do you go for a birthday celebration?
Originally, like many of you I’m sure, I aimed high and decided upon a fancy restaurant that served things like duck in rich sauces, escargot, and sorbets. It was a beautiful restaurant and menu, with some fantastic reviews, and yet I cancelled my booking.
Why? So I could go to Nando’s.
I love fancy restaurants and I actually miss the days when going out to dine at some places was an ‘event’. You’d have to dress up in your best clothes and be on your best behaviour at whatever restaurant you were in.
In a time where everywhere is ‘smart casual’, we’ve lost a lot of the old school glam associated with going out to dinner. However, that being said, I’m not surprised this way of eating out has come to a close.
People want to feel comfortable when going out to eat. They want to feel at ease in a restaurant and being served food that you can barely pronounce, let alone understand where it came from, has led to what I’m going to call ‘The Dry Chicken Experience’.
You know, that thing they serve you when you go on holiday. You ordered the chicken because that sounded vaguely like something you’d eat at home, and honestly the anxiety of ordering was so stressful, you would’ve been happy with whatever they served you.
It’s a fine line to walk. Yes, fine dining restaurants are some of the most creative places in the world, serving dishes today that will be considered classics in the future. They re-write the rule book for food.
However, not everyone wants that. And as people who cook, whether professionally or simply at home, we have to learn to respect that and stop mocking people for their tastes.
I’ve met people who’s favourite food is genuinely a Big Mac. I might not share their passion, but I respect their choice and if they came to eat at mine I wouldn’t try and serve them food that looks like it should be in a modern-art museum (oh but if only my food was that pretty).
Likewise, if someone is willing to try new things, I’ll rise to the challenge. The important thing to remember is that food and taste specifically is highly subjective.
Some people will always have an aversion to certain tastes and that’s okay. They don’t have ‘no taste’, they just have ‘different tastes’.
And let’s not forget, sometimes even those of us who love fine dining, just really want a Big Mac, or, in my case, a Nando’s 🙂