Okay, so foodie culture might not have taken over in every aspect of life but it is certainly much more widely appreciated than it used to be. What’s more, its influence can be felt in many walks of life nowadays. In fact, foodie culture has come a long way. The term was first coined back in the 1980s and was sometimes also called the foodie movement and even the foodie revolution. Much of it was about pushing back against commoditised food, especially fast food, and placing a greater emphasis on the quality and look of ingredients. Foodie culture also embraced locally sourced food and sustainability but its central focus was always on dining as a visual as well as an oral experience. Though there may be some ongoing debate about what exactly foodie culture was and has since become, there can be little doubt that this cultural phenomenon has been extremely influential. Just look at the many ways it has been invoked in other parts of our culture away from the culinary areas that it was first so connected with!
To be honest there have always been shows about food on TV and they did not start when the foodie culture first got going. That said, what happened throughout the 1980s and 1990s is that TV shows that were devoted to food became more and more about the culture of cuisine and less and less about basic cookery. Critiques of restaurants, ingredient standards and service levels were not really a part of food TV in the 1960s and 1970s. Sure, you could watch a show about how to prepare a meal. Increasingly, food shows on TV have embraced foodie culture and it has led to some stars of the genre, such as Gordon Ramsay, for example. Programmes like Master Chef have not settled for anything other than excellence with greater emphasis on invention and style than on merely producing food with a standard appeal. Audiences have reacted strongly to foodie culture on the small screen with specialist shows catering for specific interests, whether it is organic ingredients, baking or Middle Eastern cuisine.
Foodie culture can be said to have begun in the printed form when the Official Foodie Handbook was first published back in 1980. Since then, a large number of magazines have sprung up, each devoted to aspects of foodie culture. Think of publications like Saveur or the Art of Eating as two prime examples. Then there are titles such as Fine Cooking or Food and Wine you’d have to include as key players in foodie culture. No Sunday newspaper supplement is complete without a specialist restaurant review or a column by a celebrity chef extolling the virtues of a particular in-season ingredient.
The Gaming Industry
Video games have often featured munching characters – think back to Pacman as an early example. These days, games often feature incredibly attractive looking food as a reward or as part of the gameplay itself in the case of Candy Crush, for example. Then there are the many foodie-related slots you can play at an online casino where your reward will be more of a financial nature than a morsel of something tasty. For example, games like Fruit vs Candy feature plenty of food-inspired icons where you have to match up similar ingredients. Big Chef is another game that any foodie fan will enjoy because it is inspired by a swanky French restaurant where you can gain free spins and multipliers depending on your gaming, if not your culinary, skills.
In the past, you might have visited Naples or Paris for their local culinary delights but few other places. Nowadays, more and more destinations are marketing themselves to visitors as places of foodie culture. Perhaps it is the resort towns of California that want to highlight their excellent seafood or the urban centres of Australia which focus on their fusion cooking. In the UK, places like Edinburgh, Cambridge and York have all successfully begun to sell themselves on their distinctive food cultures, something that would have seemed unimaginable a few decades ago. Of course, some places provide everything that a foodie could ask for from a local cuisine. The tourist hotspots of Macau and Hong Kong in China have long been known for the culinary delights, for example. These days, you are just as likely to find foodie tourists in places like Istanbul, Chennai and Barcelona such has the popularity of food-based global tourism become.