The word "Gourmet" is being used a lot lately. What does it mean though? Is it expensive food? Or is it plating? Is a tiny portion on a huge plate indicative of gourmet food? We believe there is no right answer. For a customer, it is the entire experience that makes food gourmet. At its core, quality ingredients and techniques make a dish gourmet. Gourmet could also be associated with innovation.
A lot of credit goes to the millennial customer, who is well travelled, well read, experimental with different cuisines, challenging their palette. Also, the advent of TV series like Masterchef has exposed India to global cuisines. In today’s time gourmet is no more restricted to fine dining restaurants and hence there are many cafes coming up with similar kind of concepts where they are focusing on natural, sustainable and international ingredients and palating catering to a global customer rather than keeping the offering too niche. Another important point is plating. In a café, the plating and portions have to be wholesome and comfortable. “Our observation is that with so much exposure these days the line between familiar and unfamiliar food is quickly disappearing. Everyone speaks gourmet. So it’s all the tougher to keep them excited. We at StayWoke are not very big fans of fusion. We like to retain the original dish we drew inspiration from and just create it our way,” shares Manali Guha, Co-Founder, Café StayWoke.
Similarly, five star restaurants have started catering to a new kind of menu where they are more focusing on giving back to the community and are serving gourmet food of global taste and local ingredients. “We are doing lots of micro green products which is already very popular in western world though it was all Indian products which people used to be conscious about. Today, these products are a big hit in Europe and we are trying to bring that thing together to people here to enjoy,” says Vimal Verma, Director Of Food & Beverage- AnnaMaya who was surprised to know that India has so much to do during his six month research for AnnaMaya. “People from outside know more about our ingredients than we Indians. I never used to eat Aloevera but here we are serving aloevera sandwich with a western dressing of orange and micro greens along with aloevera and that’s how we are trying to connect this,” adds Verma.
Gourmet is no longer a niche, it is fast becoming mainstream, at least in larger cities and online ordering is democratizing the process of ordering On-Demand food. Fine Dine is still restricted to a chosen few, with people visiting Fine Dine establishment on occasions. Gourmet is now associated with Fun dine.
And, as more and more customers’ look for personalised experiences, it is imperative that restaurants buck up to provide it. It could be something as simple as accommodating a simple change in a dish. Warmth, especially from owners, also creates a lasting impression. Service has to be quick, unobtrusive and accommodating all at once. In total it has to be your living room experience with very good service.