It’s become an undeniable fact that people are becoming not only more aware but also more educated in food. This entails appreciating food, eating good food, knowing, spotting and avoiding ‘bad’ food and basically just drowning ourselves in programme after programme about food on our televisions. Be it cable or national, we’re getting used to this ‘food-porn’ – where people cook good food, with good ingredients and make it so pretty that you can actually almost smell and taste what the chef is cooking up on screen.
There are of course numerous food programmes that specialize in a certain culture’s food e.g. Italian with David Rocco, Chinese food with Martin Yan, English fare with Jamie Oliver and so on. And of course the many, many competitions where home-chefs battle it out in programmes like Masterchef, Top Chef, and Hell’s Kitchen etc.
This has in fact, made us not only more aware but also more cultured and that in turn has made being a chef a ‘cool’ job to have. Locally and regionally, we can see cooking classes and also specialized cooking schools springing up in the last couple of years and most of them are filled up with the young eager cooks who just want a piece of the pie (pun intended). Here in Bali, this is no exception, with many hotels offering cooking classes. And there is even the annual Ubud Food Festival!
Why is it that we’re so into our food these days? And when I say into, I really mean into. Most of us can even spot and taste if a certain place uses too much MSG, or a certain brand of syrup for a cheap local soda. It’s like now everyone’s a critic!
Of course, all in all, it’s a good thing. Watching Floyd the original TV Chef getting drunk on screen; Martin Yan, whom no one understands but who shows delicious looking dishes; Nigella Lawson; and of course the brash, cool style that is Anthony Bourdain. The crazy popularity of shows like these makes our society more informed, more educated and the chefs who prep our food can pride in our informed appreciation of their work.