‘’Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.’’ – Hippocrates
In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, food is placed at the bottom of the pyramid as a basic physiological need. For a long time, humans have looked at food as a satiation of hunger. Soon, humanity craved food not just for hunger but for the luxury of it, increasing expectation from nutrition to medicine. Historically the ingredients used in Gourmet cuisine tended to be rare for that region. It evolved as a cultural ideal influenced by haute cuisine, generally characterized by elegant, complex preparations and sophisticated presentations of a variety of rich courses. Gourmet is a term often used to describe people of refined taste and passion. The French term ‘Gourmet’ was used to describe a wine broker, but in the 18th century dictionary it reads ‘a good gourmet must have a refined palate’. This cultural ideal plays a significant role in building interactions across cultures, especially since it is distinguished for introducing new food practices and unique ingredients.
Gourmet has been considered a luxury food from early times because it has always been expensive. It generally depended on the kind of ingredients people had access to and the ease of access to these ingredients. That is why in many parts of the world gourmet food is associated with wealth. Merchants brough ingredients from afar, which meant they had to deal with the risks like weather, robbery and damage. Thus, the price of the ingredients went up. Over the years, foods that fall into the category of Gourmet changed. Only 10% of the millennium population could eat food that was considered Gourmet at that time.
Believe it or not, in the 18th century, Gourmet carried a strong association with gluttony, with some religious groups reminding people that gluttony was one of the seven deadly sins.
It is the French Chef Master Auguste Scoffier who popularised the notion that the basic element of gourmet food preparation is the stock which is essential to flavour sauces and glazes. Stock is made from the bones of animals along with traditional ingredients like herbs and vegetables. This stock is at the core of what makes a gourmet meal special.
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So, in every corner of the world, we will find the haughty finger of gourmet beckoning. In China, it’s the signature soup and noodles. In India the versatility is astounding with Dan Dan noodles and gunpowder sour cream from the West while you have experiments like Beef rendang and pineapple sauce from the South. The Spaniards love their Paellas and are known for their cured meats. In Mexico it’s the famous Enchiladas and Quesadillas. Italy, the country topping the list for gourmet, has its fancy Florentine steaks and Bottargas. But no one can barbecue and smoke their meats like the Americans.
If you wish to explore Authentic American Barbecue, you can book online from our Smokehse website.
We, at Esseplore have mastered the technique of emulating that. Gourmet is our thing, we have curated the rare smoked American meat, invented the goodness of Traditional Chinese Medicine in our dishes and developed a unique menu with ingredients naturally rich in Umami. We are now at the forefront of innovative food practices ready to lead Singapore as a destination for gourmet food.
After all, Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin rightly said: ‘Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.’