“Let’s go out for dinner.”
“Ooh, yes! Some place nice.”
“Really? We’ll have to dress up, spend a bomb, etc.”
“Ugh, that’s true. Who needs the hassle? We’ll go for my birthday next week. Let’s go grab a burger at (insert any fast food chain name).”
This is one of many conversations between diners today. When deciding to soothe their gastronomical rumblings, one instinctively recoils from the idea of doing something as ‘fancy’ as fine dining on a regular night.
Let’s take 5 common personifications of the discerning diner today:
1) The curious couple
2) The successful businessman
3) The young working professional
4) The eager traveller
5) The dining family
Now let’s examine the various notions of fine dining commonly expressed by these, our happy diners.
1) It’s too fancy for the curious couple: The term “fine dining” sometimes gives you pause when mulling over your options for a fun, relaxed afternoon/night out. “Why opt for a fancy meal?” you think, “It’s not even a special occasion!” People always seem to need a bigger, brighter, shinier reason other than the pangs gnawing at their insides.
2) Too stressful for the successful businessman: One imagines the ambience of an elegant dining establishment to be peppered with “rules and regulations” of the fine dining space. The imagined pressure of ‘sitting properly’ ‘eating properly’ ‘dressing properly’ – it can be a bit daunting, to say the least. Who wants to stress about the proper posture after a long, hard day at the office?
3) Too expensive for the young working professional: We’ve all heard the expression: “I’ll have to wash dishes in the kitchen to afford that place!” Diners are wary of the proverbial hole about to be burned in their pockets thanks to an expensive dinner. No one likes spending an arm and a leg on a meal; another common complaint about fine dining.
4) Tiny portions – a let down for the eager traveller: It is widely believed that the fancier the place, the smaller the food portion. Several diners consider fine dining to be associated with tiny amounts of overpriced food that will leave them scraping the plate to get their money’s worth. A definite downer.
5) Too many rules for the dining family: It’s no fun being constantly hushed, reprimanded and harassed into a deathly silent, stiff dinner when out with family. Eating out is supposed to be a treat – not a punishment.
These are just a few of the wide and varied impressions of fine dining as it stands today.
The question is – are these impressions valid? Is this really what fine dining is all about?
To know our answer to that question, keep watching this space…