Is the future of Dining out a Dismal Prospect?


In the not too different future chefs will be replaced with culinary scientist and the social activity of recreational dining may well become just a part of restaurant history. Foods will be prepared not for its outrageous presentations or amazing taste bud teasing virtues but for its optimal nutritive and regenerative quality. This of course is merely a theory of mine but it’s a little to persuasive and argument to be completely ignored. The world we live in is changing fast and generations are growing up quicker, living longer, yet burning out sooner. The age of instant everything is here and the population grows at such an alarming rate competition for jobs has turned into a near brutal contest. Today if you snooze you not only lose but you sink. Miss a call or an email or text and within literally seconds another person may be moving in on your prospects. Don’t know an answer to something? Google it and you’re informed in seconds. it’s a lightning quick pace today and fortunes can be lost or made in the time it takes to click a mouse. Where is the food industry headed? Look around and the types of eateries today. Froyo (frozen yogurt) establishments as well as student oriented fast food shops all have computers or game stations for the kids amusement. They have not a easier for but rather a need of constant stimulation and its all just part of evolution. How many of you remember being bored to tears on long drives and inventing games like “I Spy”, or “How many different license plates can you find?” How much wood would a woodchuck chuck? Ninety nine bottle of beer on the wall. Mindless songs and queries entertained many of us during long rides or field trips. Not anymore. That eerie glow coming from those traveling SUV’s filled with children are DVD players or even TV’s to keep the kids quiet. Even on short trips! No wonder kids today expect visual stimulation every ten seconds.
Gastronomic science is already becoming accepted and you will soon be hearing a lot about Molecular Gastronomy. Molecular gastronomy is cutting edge cooking where high level science meets haut cuisine. Chefs use controversial and provocative presentations an methods using equipment more often found in a University science lab room. Far beyond the short lived popularity of foaming chefs are well versed in scientific techniques using liquids nitrogen, anti-griddles, dehydrators, and thermal immersion circulators to alter the shape and taste of dining. There are already a number of high quality restaurants that specialize in molecular gastronomy. Taking serious strides in the early 90’s it’s a growing industry and quite controversial in the culinary corners. That’s a story for another time, my point is that science is already entering the dining experience and its only a matter of time before the novelty and entertainment value of molecular gastronomy evolves into a more clinical form of eating void of social entertainment while brimming with nutrients, vitamins, an other substances designed to enhance human physical performance. Not like steroids, but food an techniques developed to maximize the ability to move faster, stay more alert, and function with less sleep to give the diner the edge they need to get or stay on top in a whirlwind workforce. That is my assessment of the future of cooking. Scientist serving up stamina on a plate. Will it really end our last bastion of physical interactive social activity. I truly hope not, ining out is probably my favorite pastime in the world. Stay tuned…Next time……how the industry has evolved during my culinary career

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