“Jamaica Ranked 8th Most Underrated Foodie Destination,” according to a Jamaica Gleaner article published (Nov 12,2020), I would not argue with the evaluators as it is evidence brought before them.
Gastronomy’s principal relationship is between food and all the bullet points in History, Tradition, and Culture. Until we “foodies” broadly understand this concept within our “cuisine”, we will continue to lose out on its true potential.
I have observed that many of my Culinarian and food enthusiasts’ colleagues conceptualize gastronomy as merely putting the best food on the plate. While this is an ingredient in the concept, we get out what we have invested in the reach of our food.
Food preparation, serving, and presentation are the relationship between gastronomy and art, hence Culinary Art.
Whether or not we produce five-star meals, it proved insufficient to certify our “cuisine” amongst the most rated in the world. We are not in a “cuisine “competition and serving “safe, palatable food” is neither right nor wrong, regardless of how we prepare or present it. For example, the article mentioned that our “island casual street dining options allowed us to earn mention on the list”. It shows the appreciation, desire, and opportunity in an “untapped” market for our “cuisine’s” cultural, historical, and traditional components.
We need to create experiences and tell the story behind what we put out regardless of the dining environment. We must celebrate our food and continue to build on the pride we have thus far placed in it. Simply put, not doing any more than just preparing, serving, and eating our food is harshly underutilizing its value.
Countries where a significant fraction of their economy depends on their cuisine capitalize on every angle of its relationship to gastronomy and the best place to start is from the farm, the grassroot of our food and think beyond the plate, just like thinking out of the box.
Randie Anderson Executive Chef, CEC, CCA, WCEC, MSc Gastronomic Tourism.
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