It made me think how much of our social lives seem to revolve around food and drink, especially out of the home and where our expectations are in terms of availability, quality and variety. I can’t remember my parents having the array of choice or meeting at restaurants with friends (that was a treat or special occasions). If they met with friends it was expected to be in a pub – just a drink, rarely for a meal.
Our lives now are so enforced with food and drink and it’s just mind boggling how much of our high streets are taken over with food emporiums. I hate to be of that age when you say “I remember when” but I really do! I grew up near Chiswick and recently returned for a fleeting visit, I was astounded at number of eateries. I would say 60% of that high street is now food/bar related where as in my teenage years it was probably 25% at best.
It’s probably a good thing for the high street, if we didn’t have the restaurants as a meeting place then it may well be devoid of any life as the small shops have all but left.
I was very fortunate as one of my food fest events was a friend’s birthday celebration and I was being treated to a meal at the Fat Duck. It was an enhanced menu and there 21 courses of exceptional food, not least the edible candle at the end. When I was growing up that there was nowhere like that and the innovation and seriousness of food as an art was only at beginning of its journey
All this means that we have greater choice so competition and expectations are fierce. When I try to think about how catering will be in 2050 I can’t begin to imagine how it will get any better!