Are foodies pretentious tossers?
Food & Wine
With all their talk about organic smoked sea salt, raw milk, artisan cheese and foams, hanging out with food aficionados can be hard to stomach. Why can't these people just eat and get it over with?
This week the NZ Guild of Food Writers hosted a debate between some of the country's best-known foodies to decide once and for all if being a gourmet means being a pretentious tosser.
The chat-fest, adjudicated by Wellington chef Martin Bosley, saw chef Sean Armstrong, radio personality Alison Leonard and NZ Woman's Weekly food editor Annabelle White argue for the motion, which was rebutted by restaurateur Judith Tabron, TV chef Nici Wickes and Metro editor Simon Wilson.
Here's what they had to say. Have a read and tell us what you think in the comments below.
ARE FOODIES PRETENTIOUS TOSSERS?
''Foodie? It's a slang description for a food snob.
Foodies don't eat a meal if the sea salt isn't flaky enough; they leave upset if the wine match isn't on par with the food; and they shop only at Nosh, Moore Wilsons or anywhere else that isn't your everyday supermarket.
Their conversations are all about their recent trip to Europe where they tasted the most divine food at five-star establishments. Telling your friends is one thing - but telling the person next to you on the plane, while you push aside your airline meal? Well, us everyday New Zealanders don't care. We don't want to know how to make foams or jellies. All we want to know is how to cook our Sunday roast.
Foodies just take themselves too seriously. Foodies are so concerned with all matters food they take it to the extreme. The 'gastrosexual' has paved a dangerous path for all lovers of good food, with his offal, unpasteurised milk, pretentious air and $10,000 knives (those that will never see the inside of a dishwasher).
Food is supposed to be social. When we invite friends around for dinner, we simply want to have fun. We don't want to be judged on our presentation and whether or not we heated our food to the right degree before 'plating up'.
What do we all really want for dinner? A good slab of meat followed by apple crumble.''
''Foodie? A slang description of someone interested in food.
Chefs or foodies go to great lengths to collect the freshest seasonal produce. But does this love for hunting and gathering - or concern for country of origin labelling and free range - really make them tossers?
The truth is, all we are is a group of common people with a common love of food. We're here for the food - and we enjoy sharing our love of it.
Foodies do have the 'common touch'. We're there with you at Maccas, hungover on a Sunday morning, grabbing a milkshake. We do eat simply. We've all got those hidden stashes of two-minute noodles in our pantry - it's definitely not fois gras and caviar on the dinner menu! It's just that we also enjoy a tasty piece of meat with a good wine match for dinner.
We simply ask where our food comes from because we care. We can't help it if flavours 'scream' and 'whisper' to us from the plate - such is our connection with food! And you might ask why we describe our food in such a way. It's because food isn't meant to be bland or boring - we want to excite you, your palate.
When you go to a nice restaurant and you get told about the flavours on the plate and the lengths the chef has gone to harvest your vegetables, it makes you excited and it makes the experience anything but boring.
Often restaurant reviewers are accused of being pretentious. But you can't hate us for telling the truth. And the truth is - every foodie likes a freebie. Freebies can't possibly make you pretentious.
Calling a foodie a pretentious tosser is an oxymoron. There's a saying that the identity of our culture is determined by food. And we Kiwis can thank our foodies for making our Kiwi food celebrated around the world.''
- © Fairfax NZ News
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