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How do you define "gourmet"?

When someone says this is a "gourmet meal" or this is "gourmet food" what exactly is the criteria?

Is it just about expensive ingredients? Or does the technique or process in preparation play a role in what is "gourmet"? Surely, one can have a "gourmet meal" with inexpensive ingredients, right?

But is there a singular definition of "gourmet" ... or is it just something we know when we see it?

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  1. I looked it up a while back - DH and I were wondering the same thing. From what I read, it's basically using common or uncommon ingredients in a creative way. Though that's pretty nebulous, too. DH used to think that cooking on a commercial stove made one a gourmet cook, but I have disabused him of that assumption by cooking pretty good food on a Kitchenaid.

    And, no, I don't think it has to be expensive (though sometimes it is). There are plenty of interesting and creative things that Chowhounders do with vegetables, for instance, that are inexpensive and surely what many would consider gourmet.

    A can of tuna and some potato chips makes a casserole from the 60's ,but take a nice fresh tuna steak and some tiny potatoes, and you can make something that a restaurant would consider a gourmet dish. It's often in the quality of the ingredients and the preparation and presentation.
    This probably doesn't answer your question, but I think your last sentence is the answer. If we are fairly experienced and educated about food, we just know it when we see it.

    1. A meal that is prepared for a gourmand.

      3 Replies
      1. re: chefj

        I always felt the word gourmand had a negative connotation. Definitions of gourmet vary
        widely. I think is was originally used as a noun but has developed much wider meaning as
        an adjective.

        1. re: ferventfoodie

          What "gourmand" means to you will probably be heavily linked to your age, your religion, or your language, in which case the word may carry heavy connotations of gluttony, thanks to the way the French segment of the Holy Roman Catholic Church defines one of the Seven Deadly Sins. But yes, the word "gourmand", but not the word "gourmandise", usually means someone who likes great food and lots and lots and lots of it! All of which begs the question: Can a true gourmand truly enjoy a tasting menu??? '-)

          1. re: Caroline1

            Justin Wilson used to make the distiction something like ths:

            "A gourmet, he like the best food, the best you got.
            A gourmand, he like to lots of everything, a P-I-G hog!"

      2. For my own definition, it would have to do with the quality of the food - it could be very good ingredients, or an expert preparation. It would imply that there is some sort of preparation - so a ripe, off the tree peach is a fantastic ingredient, but not a gourmet dessert, unless it's prepared in some way.

        So common or inexpensive ingredients would work, *if* they were of good quality, or cooked in a way that made them exceptional. The present of expensive or unusual ingredients or preparation methods would not make it a gourmet meal unless the preparation was also good, other wise it's just a complicated mess, or a waste of good ingredients.

        1. I don't like gourmet cooking or "this" cooking or "that" cooking. I like good cooking.
          - James Beard

          29 Replies
          1. re: eclecticsynergy

            And that exactly defines a true gourmet, though Saint Jim would probably roar at me for saying so. The man adored good food much more than was good for him - a nice steak and a few Manhattans mid-afternoon was his idea of a harmless snack - but his grounding was in the plain but wide-ranging food of his Northwestern childhood: the fried chicken with cream gravy, the freshly-dug clams and the oysters, the tomatoes still hot from the sun, the new potatoes and the peas. It was this lovely, simple fare that made him ready for the wonders of French cuisine, because the stress on fine ingredients carefully prepared is common to both. And the ability to take deep pleasure in a dish of fresh haricots verts, simply steamed and buttered, as much as or more than some elaborate preparation of rare and expensive ingredients, is I think the very heart of what a gourmet is.

            1. re: Will Owen

              Are you defining "gourmet" or "a gourmet"?

              1. re: Chinon00

                A gourmet. I refuse to use it as an adjective under most circumstances. "Gourmet food" is about as meaningless a phrase as there is, because it implies that eating it transforms one into a "gourmet", which is just silly. A "gourmet cook" might be one whose food is pitched towards the finest palates in the crowd, but it's those palates' owners who bring the value into the room, not the merely rich pretenders who might as well be eating at Cheesecake Factory.

                1. re: Will Owen

                  ""Gourmet food" is about as meaningless a phrase as there is, because it implies that eating it transforms one into a "gourmet", which is just silly."

                  I do not know what that means. The food is the food irrespective of the audience consuming it and vice versa. Could you elaborate?

                  Also as I've mentioned down-thread I see the ADJECTIVE gourmet as just another approach or style of food/cooking; like say vegetarian or Thai. And like those and other styles, 'gourmet' style can be executed poorly or well.

                  1. re: Chinon00

                    Of course the food is the food, and that's all it is. To call it "gourmet food" has to mean SOMETHING. What? Any dish that is prepared properly could appeal to a gourmet as well as just some hungry guy with no functioning taste buds.

                    I very much disagree that "gourmet" is a specific style of food or cooking. I know for a fact that Mr. Beard would have adored those grilled trotters we ate in Chartres (since he included a recipe for exactly those in his "New James Beard"), but so do lots of folks who eat at that same restaurant just because it's in their neighborhood and it's not expensive. If Beard would have known about the place and sought it out, would that make it a Gourmet Mecca? Of course not. But he was undeniably a well-established gourmet.

                    1. re: Will Owen

                      "Of course the food is the food, and that's all it is. To call it "gourmet food" has to mean SOMETHING. What?"

                      As I said on another post topic:
                      "There is no hard line between gourmet and non-gourmet. But what I'd expect more often from a gourmet meal . . . are:

                      1) decadence (e.g. Beef filet with demi glace sauce topped with truffle studded foie gras)
                      2) rare and expensive ingredients (i.e. caviar, truffles, sea urchin, Sauternes)
                      3) attention to presentation

                      What I expect from ALL outstanding cooking (gourmet or otherwise) are the use of quality ingredients and refinement of cooking."

                      1. re: Chinon00

                        And no bottle of Heinz on the table.

                        1. re: Veggo

                          Heck, I thought that you told me that Heinz was a "gourmet" sauce! Bogus.

                          Hunt

                          1. re: Veggo

                            Heinz is essential for a burger and basket of fries; and eggs sometimes.

                            1. re: Veggo

                              Heinz 57 Sauce, if that's the Heinz you're referring to, is simply a bottled version (one of MANY) originally presented as a quick alternative to a classic Espagnole/Brown Sauce. I've always been curious what the 57th sauce was on Careme's once famous list of 78 compound sauces.... hmmmm? Could it be???

                            2. re: Chinon00

                              1) decadence (e.g. Beef filet with demi glace sauce topped with truffle studded foie gras) ..............................................Chinon00
                              ....................................................
                              I do believe I rather resent your example of "decadence". Those are the ingredients of a classic Tournedo Rossini, less the traditional crouton the beef filet is classically served upon. The basic bottom line is that in combination they simply taste GREAT together! They may not be Nouvelle Cuisine, or Cuisine Minceur, or in step with many of today's celebrity chefs, but in my book, while it may well be "old fashioned" or even "out of style",, I cannot agree that it is "decadent".

                              For me, if you want to see "decadent", there are plenty of foodcentric shows on TV today that focus on gigantic portions of "heart attack on a plate" type of over indulgence. THAT is "decadent" in action!

                              1. re: Caroline1

                                So obviously I'm not talking about quantity. But to garnish a beef filet with delicacies like truffles and foie gras is decadent as well. It is luxury on a plate.

                                1. re: Chinon00

                                  Again, I will argue my point that luxury ingredients do not necessarily "decadence" make! Tornedos Rossini is a classic dish. I wish you had used another example to illustrate your point. Maybe Careme's sugar or pastry extravaganzas? Or I can also go along with extreme sushi in which hundreds of dollars are paid for the privilege of eating an over-fished segment of tuna is decadent. I think high end American version of "omakasi" and high end "tasting menus" are both equally decadent. But I cannot say that tuna and rice OR tenderloin, truffles, and foi gras in combination are good definitions of "decadent." I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

                                  1. re: Caroline1

                                    Do you find the word decadent to be perjorative?

                                    1. re: Chinon00

                                      In a word, yes. But keep in mind that I am 78 years old, and my frame of reference may be somewhat "antiquated." '-)

                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                        It is now ten days later, and this came flashing back to me as I read an on-line description of French Isigny butter. The website described it as "decadent." And I suddenly realized that in today's world of diminishing language, "decadent" is used as if it is a synonym with "opulent." Had you said that those ingredients used in Tournedos Rossini are opulent, I would have agreed 100%. Decadent? I still say no. Just a much delayed afterthought. '-)

                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                          "And I suddenly realized that in today's world of diminishing language, "decadent" is used as if it is a synonym with "opulent."

                                          No, not opulence but more to excessiveness or indulgence. A Merriam Webster definition is as follows:

                                          dec * a * dent (adj)

                                          3 :characterized by or appealing to self-indulgence

                                          ______________________________________________________
                                          Edit: Opulence and decadence are fairly close in definition per Merriam Webster (i.e. abundance, profusion). So yeah I agree with your comparison.

                                          1. re: Chinon00

                                            I understand 'opulent' to refer to excess in a way that is visibly evident. A restaurant's decor might be described as 'opulent' whereas the food would only be described as such to the extent that it is gorgeously plated (and even that would be uncommon usage).

                                            "Decadent," meanwhile, I understand to be used pretty much as you've used it above. Food is commonly described as 'decadent' (including by reasonably respectable newspapers with decent editors such as the NYT) whereas 'opulent' is rarely used by those same sources in reference to food.

                                            This is the problem with relying too heavily on dictionary definitions to understand words - they often leave out these kinds of connotations. I don't know if 'decadent' used to have different connotations in usage, but its use to describe indulgent food has been acceptable and fairly common for as long as I can remember.

                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                              When I read the word opulent the first thing that came to mind was jewelry. But then i looked it up and read synonyms for opulence such abundance and profusion; which fell in line with excess. So to be fair I edited my comments. However, I agree with your observation of opulence rarely being used in describing food.

                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                I'm using more of a lifetime of experience with words (I'm a talker and LOVE precise language) rather than dictionary definitions, though they usually back me up. My hard copy dictionary preferences are Webster's New World Dictionary, and the Oxford English Dictionary (unabridged). I have both in my personal library, but arthritic hands have pretty much reduced the latter to a showpiece.

                                                ANYWAY... "Decadence", in its original meaning, was somewhat related to "decay." In other words, starting from a good point and on its way down the slippery slope. That definition stood for many years, but was corrupted in the earlyish (how's that for correct lingo?) Twentieth Century when it was disparagingly used to describe a certain art movement (I think in Paris), but the artists took it up as a badge of honor and turned the tables on its meaning. It was meant as a put down, but as happens with so many things in life, it soon caught on as a "good thing" because the artists adapted it as a badge of honor, and it was misapplied so often it came into the vernacular much the way that "bad" came to mean "good" in teen jargon not so very long ago. But the original meaning is still perfectly acceptable, and it's the version I learned in my very long ago youth.

                                                In my book, words like "decadent," "opulent", and even "rococo" and "baroque" can be used well to describe certain foods. Historically, Careme's extravagant banquet presentations were often baroque AND rococo AND opulent all at the same time, but I would describe none of them as "decadent".

                                                On the other hand, the food that comes most readily to mind as "decadent" is the Swedish delicacy called surstromming. If you'e unfamiliar with this northern Swedish "delicacy," Google it, but don't say I didn't warn you. It is DECADENT!

                                                And if you have never seen a proper Haute Cuisine presentation of traditional Tournedos Rossini, the contents of which were mentioned by Chinon00 as "decadent," it is not decadent, in my book, but is a truly opulent and gorgeous presentation. But most of all, it is drop dead DELICIOUS...!!! One of my favorites, and used to be a specialty of my home kitchen, along with Beef Wellington. Both of which are making something of a come-back. YAY! I'm going to be in style again....!!!! '-)

                                                1. re: Caroline1

                                                  "[Decadence] was meant as a put down, but as happens with so many things in life, it soon caught on as a "good thing" because the artists adapted it as a badge of honor, and it was misapplied so often it came into the vernacular much the way that "bad" came to mean "good" in teen jargon not so very long ago."

                                                  The Merriam Webster definition that I provided you doesn't mention "good thing" or "good". Again the definition I provided was: "characterized by or appealing to self-indulgence". To be precise.

                                                  1. re: Chinon00

                                                    Yes. I read what you wrote the first time. But did you read what I wrote? At no place did I say or suggest that Merriam Webster defined Decadent/decadence as "good." I think you didn't follow what I wrote very well.

                                                    The horse is dead.

                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                      Leaving the dictionaries closed for a moment my understanding of the traditional meaning of decandent is as you say decay; but as in moral decay (i.e. hedonistic behavior, satisfying every desire, Caligula-esque, debauchery). So from there the definition has come to include (in addition to the above) to mean merely excessive or indulgent. Having said that this later additional definition of the word decandence does not necessarily equal good or a good thing. It's just an approach.
                                                      We can agree to disagree whether Tournedos Rossini is "indulgent". This 2012 NYT article describes the dish as such as well as "sybarite":

                                                      http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/29/din...

                                                      1. re: Chinon00

                                                        I've read the article. I've looked at all of the 10 slide show pictures that accompany it. I am familiar with Chef Soltner by reputation, primarily from thirty or forty (or more?) years ago when he was the headliner at Lutece.

                                                        That said,, SHAME on the guy who wrote the article AND on Andre Soltner for passing off counterfeit goods. Tournedos Rossini was NEVER served on "toast!" Nor was it served directly on a plate. It was classically served on a "crouton" (culinary French terminology of that bygone era) that had been sautéed in butter to crisp its surface and create a moisture barrier so that the rested steak would not make the crouton soggy, as it would on "toast". But once the steak and crouton were sliced through, it did an excellent job of "sopping up" the juices, as intended. The crouton was the exact same diameter as the tournedo (meat). The round cut of foie gras set atop it was just a bit smaller in diameter than the tournedo so there was a margin of nicely crusted beef peering out from under the liver. That was topped with SLICED Perigord truffle. In my ancient cookbooks of the era, Larousse Gastronomique calls for three slices of truffle, but Escoffier only calls for one. As in one large enough to fit the round of foie gras at the same ratio as it covers the tournedo. Neither Larousse nor Escoffier specify the sauce, but in the 50s when I was taught to make Tournedos Rossini by a European trained master chef, the classic sauce was Sauce Perigordine, which is basically a demi glace (and a really excellent demi glace comes with Madeira already in it, so no sense in adding more), and infused with Perigord truffles.

                                                        What they are passing off in this article as Tournedos Rossini puts me in mind of Ford Motor Company reintroducing the "Classic Ford Thunderbird." If it ain't got little round windows in the hard top shell, it ain't a classic Ford Thunderbird! Period. And if a Tournedo Rossini is not served on a crouton, or if the truffle is all chopped up (how do you know it's not canned truffle peels????), then in my ancient opinion, you are being short changed.

                                                        My best advice: Be cautious about what you read in newspapers or on the web. There is a lot of information out there that is just a bit too much to the left or right of accurate for my taste. And that's a real shame, because it is so easy to do research BEFORE writing!

                                                        But I did enjoy the writer's turn of phrase when he wrote of "the voluptuous pleasure of haute cuisine." One of the "voluptuous pleasures" of that era was that you were actually served enough sauce to taste and enjoy it without lifting the plate to your face and licking off the painted streak of a sauce the menu told you was delicious. I really hate taking any body else's word for things like that!

                                                        I guess you're right. We'll just agree to disagree. '-)

                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                            "And if a Tournedo Rossini is not served on a crouton, or if the truffle is all chopped up (how do you know it's not canned truffle peels????), then in my ancient opinion, you are being short changed."

                                                            Per the article the chopped truffles as well as truffle juice are added to the sauce while one or two sliced truffles are placed on top:

                                                            "Toast two buttered spheres of bread. Top them with warm-from-the-pan filets mignons. Crown them with a slice of hot foie gras. Then anoint these little monuments of luxury with a sliced truffle or two and a small waterfall of the aforementioned sauce."

                                                            1. re: Chinon00

                                                              David, you are a very amusing guy. I will leave you to worship at the feet of the New York Times and Merriam Webster. Enjoy.

                                                            2. re: Caroline1

                                                              Interesting. Come to think of it, I have seen 'decadent' used to imply a sense of moral decay in regards to behavior. Though I can't recall ever seeing it used with the same connotations with respect to food. Perhaps its application to food has only become commonplace after the reclaiming of the word. Couldn't say. I'm an enthusiastic but amateur linguist, and my history (even recent history) is spotty.

                                                              I'm sometimes a minority in my stance, but I quite like how terms change connotations and definitions over time, either via the kind of reclaiming you've mentioned or even through simple widespread misuse. I think it makes language richer and more interesting.

                                                              For whatever it's worth, Tournedos Rossini fits my adopted definition of 'decadent' food.

                                                              1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                "I'm sometimes a minority in my stance, but I quite like how terms change connotations and definitions over time, either via the kind of reclaiming you've mentioned or even through simple widespread misuse. I think it makes language richer and more interesting."

                                                                I don't think that the word's meaning has changed it has just been amended. It still means moral decay but other definitions exist for it too.

                      2. As the saying goes, "One man's meat is another man's poisson." I always try to take into account the person using the term, and what they are likely to mean by it. It's a pretty squishy word.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: Caroline1

                          Yes to this. I was taken to a "gourmet" restaurant by an enterprising young man who was "Very VERY" serious about food.
                          Applebee's, okay?
                          Applebee's. <facepalm>
                          Fade.

                          1. re: mamachef

                            I suspect the emphasis goes on YOUNG man? A charming story, and I have to assume he will cringe at his suggestion in another decade or two. But also a neat kid anxious to share and give at his own level of development. What a sweetheart! Thanks for sharing, mammachef. We can only wish there were more like him!

                            1. re: mamachef

                              That is SO funny Mamachef! I am sure his intentions were good, if misguided.

                              Perhaps give him a copy of St. Jim's 'Delights and Prejudices" to truly open his mind about serious food:)

                          2. It always felt like a buzzword to me, ie put gourmet on it and charge double. It seems now gourmet is being replaces with "artisan". I see tons of stuff now with artisan on it.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: loki993

                              Another favorite quote: "Nouvelle Cuisine, roughly translated, means: I can't believe I paid ninety-six dollars and I'm still hungry." - Mike Kalin

                              1. re: loki993

                                When I see the word 'artisan' my brain thinks 'artesian', and then the flavor image is clear and tasteless.
                                Plus 'artisanal' does not roll trippingly off the tongue. So I'm not loving either one.

                                1. re: loki993

                                  I bristle whenever I encounter the term 'artisan' these days - and that is OFTEN.

                                  This was an interesting article on the use of this term, some content I agree with, some not but worth a read:

                                  http://www.seattleweekly.com/2012-06-...

                                  1. re: gingershelley

                                    At least they are using the term in an article about people who actually can be called artisans. Way different than slapping the 'artisan' label on a loaf of bread just because it has a crunchy crust.
                                    Now I want some cherries.

                                2. It's a word I think one can waste a lot of time over trying to define, so I generally don't bother. But, when I do, it's about the quality and, to some extent, the rarity of produce - the dictionary definitions tend to use the word "discriminating" (but that's as nonsensically subjective as eveything else).

                                  1. Gourmet= a parsley garnish

                                    Of course, I'm being facetious, but not completely. 
                                    To me, gourmet comes in 2 styles.

                                    In a restaurant/ food-served-to-you setting,  "gourmet" is at least partially indicated by 
                                    the care and concern for plating
                                    over and above
                                    the care and concern for ingredients and technique. 
                                    Garnish=gourmet?

                                    "Gourmet" as… a flavour is something different. As a marketing word, probably means "less common, more costly ingredients." Thus, supermarket chips that are Greek Yoghurt and Vidalia would be gourmet, "above" sour cream and onion. 

                                    Yours is a great question to ponder. I had to really think through whether that great steak on the f-I-l's grill was gourmet: no, because it was only prepared really well, but without "service flair." The salad dressing, otoh, would qualify for me- handmade with speciality ingredients. 
                                    Moving to restaurants, "gourmet" for me begins to encompass chef intent and the ambiance of the dining room. My hole-in-the-wall noodle shop produces incredible food, but it's slopped into a melamine bowl (or a thin plastic bag)-chef's purpose is utilitarian. 

                                    1. When I see "gourmet" I think " pretentious".

                                      1. Yeah this topic has come up before. The way I see it gourmet = decadence. So a hot dog with onions, relish and yellow mustard (while delicious) is just a hot dog. But a "hot dog" comprised of foie gras and sauternes duck sausage, truffle aioli and foie gras mousse is gourmet.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Chinon00

                                          That's one which some people would refer to as a haute dog. Got a good chuckle the first time I heard that expression, years ago...

                                        2. gourmet is not commodity grade. simple, isn't it?
                                          I can make a mean bread loaf, but it ain't gourmet. simple and good.
                                          Grandma Utz's Potato chips are gourmet (especially when bought from Costco)

                                          1. Tough question.
                                            My definition of gourmet is something that is beyond the average cooks reality in
                                            the average cooks kitchen. Such as a simple demi-glace. I know what it is and how
                                            to use it but I have not the time nor the facilities to make my own. A true gourmet will make
                                            all the ingredients in house and then combine these basics to create a gourmet meal.
                                            Another example, sous-vide cooking. Becoming approachable but on the whole most don't
                                            have the money(equipment) nor the time to perfect(experiment) - gourmet.

                                            11 Replies
                                            1. re: evansp60

                                              What about a caviar appetizer or rare rich runny cheese?

                                              1. re: Chinon00

                                                By my definition it's not gourmet, not hard to serve a rich runny cheese. It's certainly tasty but not hard to create. Watch Iron Chef, thats gourmet cooking.

                                                1. re: evansp60

                                                  I understand. You are defining "a gourmet" as in a person and not simply gourmet food.

                                                  1. re: evansp60

                                                    I've watched Iron Chef on trips to America and wouldnt personally describe the cooking as gourmet. TV "competition" cooking, certainly. But not gourmet to my mind.

                                                    Which perhaps just shows how subjective these things are.

                                                    1. re: Harters

                                                      What specifically makes Iron Chef un-gourmet to you?

                                                      1. re: Chinon00

                                                        Not a specific. It's a general.

                                                        The whole concept of a competitive TV show mitigates, in my mind, completely against my concept of gourmet (see my 26/6 post for my vague views on definition of the word)

                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                          I'm not challenging you but I don't see how your 26/6 definition would disqualify Iron Chef:

                                                          ". . . it's about the quality and, to some extent, the rarity of produce . . ."

                                                          1. re: Chinon00

                                                            Maybe we've watched different episodes.

                                                            1. re: Harters

                                                              Yes. The original Japanese version (what we saw here first in the US) was all about rare and and exotic produce.

                                                  2. re: Chinon00

                                                    I think these would qualify as 'gourmet' as in they tend to be eaten by those with a discriminating palate, by someone who appreciates them. The simple elevated to the sublime by care in the temp of serving (caviar on ice, with a little bone spoon; cheese left out to come to room temp to let the flavor bloom, etc).

                                                    I don't think every Joe and Jill who eats the occasional tobiko on a pre-made sushi roll, or who eats American cheese would necessarily appreciate caviar and stinky cheese... just sayin'.

                                                  3. re: evansp60

                                                    Or would that be 'an ARTISANAL meal"? Referencing your mention of scratch ingredients being combined.... sigh.

                                                  4. Like I said.....Tough Subject!

                                                    Food to me is not gourmet....it's the preparation of said food. Therefore the person is the gourmet not the food. A rare food poorly served is not going to be definitive. A common food served well can be substantial!
                                                    What I like about Iron Chef is that they take, at times, a common food and challenge the chef's to be creative with it. That to me is the "gourmet" portion. The ability to be creative in a way that accentuates the food. This is of course all VERY subjective. The competition portion of Iron Chef is secondary to the talent they portray. Most of what they do the average cook has neither the experience, talent nor time to create (we don't have talented sous-chef's at home helping us---at least I don't!). Just my opinion! Good Topic.

                                                    12 Replies
                                                    1. re: evansp60

                                                      "A rare food poorly served is not going to be definitive."

                                                      Could you further explain?

                                                      1. re: Chinon00

                                                        Maybe it's just me but when I try a rare food I'm looking for an experience that will be particularly memorable. Taste is subjective so just because it's rare doesn't mean you have to like it. Further if a rare food is not prepared in a way that accentuates it taste, texture, look and smell you will not have the experience you might have had. Poorly prepared can make the food ordinary instead of extra ordinary. I consider extra ordinary to be definitive, it will define your future expectations and your memories. I remember a tasting menu w/matching wine I had at the Wickenish Inn in BC in 2002. Just a great experience that defined my future expectations and refined my memories

                                                        1. re: evansp60

                                                          "Further if a rare food is not prepared in a way that accentuates it taste, texture, look and smell you will not have the experience you might have had."

                                                          Isn't that obvious?

                                                          1. re: Chinon00

                                                            Obvious to most, but it's always best to state the obvious so we are not mistaken in our understanding. My expereince has been that some people believe that rare and/or exotic mean good. Perhaps, but only to the pretensious. My caution here is that rare and exotic do not necesssarily mean gourmet. Again, just my 2 cents.

                                                            1. re: evansp60

                                                              I believe that we've come full circle but just to be clear, so assuming that you or I can obtain fresh smoked salmon, caviar, creme fraiche, and are capable of making blinis, if we assemble these into an appetizer, said appetizer would not be gourmet in your opinon?

                                                              1. re: Chinon00

                                                                I think evansp is saying if you burnt the appetizer or put ketchup on it, then it would no longer be gourmet ( or definitive, as it were)

                                                                1. re: Chinon00

                                                                  I think we just have a different perspective on gourmet.
                                                                  You state gourmet = decadence...
                                                                  I state gourmet = preparation of the food...
                                                                  We're not wrong, just different!

                                                                  1. re: Chinon00

                                                                    We just have slightly different opinions.
                                                                    You relate gourmet to decadence.
                                                                    I related gourmet to the preparation and assembly of food.
                                                                    Your proposed appetizer sounds delicious. Is it gourmet?
                                                                    It might be but then..I smoke my own salmon so maybe.

                                                                    1. re: evansp60

                                                                      Ok allow me to play devil's advocate. If I prepare my own dry rubs and sauces from scratch and have a smoker with appropriate temperature probes and the rest and am highly skilled in the art of bbq am I also a gourmet?

                                                                      1. re: Chinon00

                                                                        Why not?
                                                                        Nothing wrong with gourmet being at a tailgate party!!
                                                                        Don't get caught up in your perspective vs mine.
                                                                        Gourmet for me is not about pretention or extravagance, it's about process,
                                                                        refinement and delivery. For me you can be gourmet in a parking
                                                                        lot or a high class restaurant. Lots of "high class" restaurants serve
                                                                        poor food. I find too many chefs working way too hard to serve something
                                                                        incredibly convoluted. Foie Gras on a hotdog? If the point was just to be extravagant then it's wasted and not gourmet. Watch the movie Ratatouille. The high class critic was brought to earth by a simple dish prepared superbly - that works for me.
                                                                        I'm not big on saying other peoples cooking is bad, it may just not be to my taste. Same here, you don't have to agree because this is just my opinion, cause it's just my opinion. If your happy with decadence and extravagance more power to you. We just probably won't be eating together. I'll be in the parking lot firing up my smoker (of which I have 3 - one cold smoker, one barrel smoker and one offset smoker; and yes I make my own rubs and sauces - cause it's fun!)

                                                                        1. re: evansp60

                                                                          I hear ya. What I pick up during this conversation is that some folks think if you say something is not gourmet that it's a put down. That one is saying it's inferior to gourmet. I do not think that way AT ALL. I look at the term gourmet simply as one of many styles of food and cooking. We do not have to agree but I wanted to be clear.

                                                        2. I really do not worry with definitions, as that is one reason to have dictionaries.

                                                          Many get horribly hung up on words, and what they think they mean.

                                                          In the last 4 years (at least), I have never used that word.

                                                          Hunt

                                                          1. I am sure Ipsedixit stays up late crafting these conundrums. And I am a richer man for it.

                                                            Gourmet is worth the added expense for me. I am willing to pay additional in time, travel, money, or clothing, etcetera to get above fine dining.

                                                            As an insight to my criteria, I had no trouble driving 300 kms to a food truck on the Belgian-German border for his frites. You had two choices. Old or new taters, and whether you wanted a container of his home made mayo. He could be found in the Hurtgen forest on sunny Saturdays in the spring time. And there was always a line. Les Halle's fries are merely acceptable.

                                                            1. I cringe when I hear the word, so I usually think of it as being an immature ideal of what 'fancy' food must be: expensive and pretty to look at.

                                                              1. I think the problem is in using the word 'gourmet' as a qualifier of the food, rather than the person- the connoisseur and enthusiast with discerning tastes. It is one thing to define the person and entirely another to decide what foods are worthy of the love of a connoisseur, amateur or enthusiast.

                                                                1. I don't think I've ever thought of what that word means to me or conjures up.
                                                                  I think of gourmet chefs when that word is used. And I mean gourmet chefs, not the ones we all watch on TV. Gourmet chefs to me means those who don't have TV shows maybe excluding JB or JP.

                                                                  Gourmet means something I probably can't do [like pulling exquisite food recipes out of my "@r$"]

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: iL Divo

                                                                    "Gourmet means something I probably can't do [like pulling exquisite food recipes out of my "@r$"]"

                                                                    love it!

                                                                  2. Gourmet (adj):

                                                                    1. Meaningless signifier of quality applied to mass-produced foods by the maker/manufacturer of said foods as a kind of artless marketing. Basically, the food equivalent of a car-maker saying their sedan is 'fun to drive.'

                                                                    Example: "Try our GOURMET frozen stuffed shells! See that little sliver of green on top? That's a shred of REAL basil, MotherF(*&ers!"

                                                                    2. A vague compliment applied to an acquaintance's cooking or a restaurant when you don't know what to say, but they're clearly trying hard. More precisely, it means that another's cooking has fallen beyond your frame of reference (and most likely your level of interest), but you'd like to politely acknowledge the effort. The food cooked is usually thought of as 'fancy.' It may or may not actually be enjoyable. The cook may or may not actually be talented. Who knows?

                                                                    Example: "My son-in-law, the GOURMET cook, made us duck three ways. In one meal. It was very interesting. Say, have you tried those new frozen stuffed shells?"

                                                                    3. [anachronistic] Pertaining to food of especially high quality, in either its skillful preparation, its artful presentation, its fine and possibly rare ingredients, or some combination of the above.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                      The third definition is the closest to how I've been describing gourmet in this post. And I will relunctantly agree that it might be a fading experience (i.e. anachronistic).

                                                                    2. The people I know use it to mean anything that isn't just steak and potatoes, or burger and fries. cowboyardee's definition 2. I never use the word myself and don't like it, because it would feel pretentious if I applied it to myself, and "gee whiz" if applied to others.

                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                      1. re: John Francis

                                                                        I was actually trying to rescue it 'way up there - should've known there would be some kind of theological battle over it. The point I was striving to make is that a "gourmet", in my books, is a person who simply recognizes and loves good food, and has learned to seek it out, no matter of what genre or provenance, and that therefore "gourmet food" is best understood as food (of whatever genre or provenance) that will meet or exceed a gourmet's expectations.

                                                                        Is that so damned difficult?

                                                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                                                          New term for the millenium - - FOODIE

                                                                          Much less pretentious!

                                                                          1. re: Will Owen

                                                                            The Oxford english dictionary agrees with you, Will. The modifier has no meaning without the grounding element of the noun.

                                                                            gourmet
                                                                            Pronunciation: /ˌgôrˈmā, ˌgo͝or-/
                                                                            noun
                                                                            a connoisseur of good food; a person with a discerning palate.
                                                                            [as modifier] of a kind or standard suitable for a gourmet: a gourmet meal

                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                        2. Another definition...
                                                                          Steve Lawrence was also discerning.

                                                                           
                                                                          17 Replies
                                                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                                                              And, Caroline, I am sure you know who this woman is!

                                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                    Bill,
                                                                                    Nice tries. Neither Britney nor Paris, nor Lady Gaga either.
                                                                                    Google Steve Lawrence and her name will likely come up.

                                                                                    1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                      I have a sneaky feeling that Mr. Hunt has known from the start.

                                                                                      Mr Taster

                                                                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                        as a singer Eydie is truly a Gourmet

                                                                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                          Now, you have "peeked behind the curtain... "

                                                                                          Actually, I recall that duo, but that is because I am old.

                                                                                          Hunt

                                                                                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                            "I recall that duo, but that is because I am old."

                                                                                            nope it's because your hearing is top notch...

                                                                                            1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                              LOL!

                                                                                              Now, all I have to do is convince my young wife that my hearing is "good."

                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                        2. re: Tripeler

                                                                                          Well, since I have never dined with Steve or Eydie, I did not think of her in these terms.

                                                                                          Hunt

                                                                                      2. re: Tripeler

                                                                                        Yes, I know who Eydie Gorme is. I made a bad pun about the letters missing from the spelling of her name and the spelling of our subject under discussion, posted it, then realized I had the wrong two letters! The pun was "She's running on empty (M and T), but the missing letters are U and T... Oooops...!!!! My bad. Sorry. '-)

                                                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                          Caroline,

                                                                                          Now you fess up! Heck, half of this thread was related to Eydie... [Grin]

                                                                                          Hunt

                                                                                    2. re: Tripeler

                                                                                      It took me til just now to get it...... smh.

                                                                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                          oh burn.... That's what I get for talking to my younger sisters too much, I start to type like them. smh = shaking my head.

                                                                                      1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                        Tripeler:
                                                                                        I could not agree with you more.
                                                                                        Saw Steve&Eydie in Vegas. OML!
                                                                                        FABULOUSLY gourmetlicious

                                                                                      2. What does "gourmet" mean to me? About ten more bucks.

                                                                                        1. it's a stupid word. Like "foodie," only more ridiculous and more pretentious. Hard to believe anyone uses it with a straight face. Now I'm going to go make a gourmet peanut butter sandwich.

                                                                                          25 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: emu48

                                                                                            I cannot recall the exact board (Not About Food???), but there was a very, very long thread on how a "foodie" differs from a "ChowHound." It went on and on, and many people were frightenly adamant on what each of those two terms meant to them. It was worse than a room full of University of Arizona folk, sharing a table with alums from Arizona State University. I shivered to imagine them all in a room together. Some people take their culinary monikers far too seriously.

                                                                                            Hunt

                                                                                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                              Well that reminds me of Spider Robinson's distinction between a literary critic and a book reviewer. In his mind the difference was not just the background knowledge but the purpose of the job. It's one thing to appreciate what an artist is doing, and another to explain what they are doing and tell you whether you're likely to like it or not.

                                                                                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                Here you go, Mr. Hunt. I was one of the irascible contributors at that particular soiree.

                                                                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/527407

                                                                                                Nearly four years later, Chow published a piece asking exactly the same question.

                                                                                                http://www.chow.com/food-news/97864/i...

                                                                                                Mr Taster

                                                                                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                    Found an interesting quote from from a pre-CNET Jim Leff:

                                                                                                    What's the difference between a chowhound and a foodie?

                                                                                                    In America, if you're into food, you get labeled a foodie. But the term foodie connotes that you eat where you're told, follow the star chefs, and are afraid of unfamiliar neighborhoods. A lot of people think they are foodies and then they realize that they're not comfortable with that rubric. I've created a website that's a refugee camp for disaffected foodies—people who are a lot more self-propelling and irreverent.

                                                                                                    http://www.travelandleisure.com/artic...

                                                                                                    Mr Taster

                                                                                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                      I liked that little interview - thanks Mr. Taster.
                                                                                                      One thing I find interesting (coming from a resident of a college town of 25,000+ population) is that when asked about the possibility of 'chowhounding' in a small town, the example Leff used was Des Moines.
                                                                                                      I live outside Atlanta now, spent most of my adult life in spittin' distance of Chicago and grew up in suburbs of LA and Columbus OH. I understand that Des Moines is not a huge metropolitan area, as their population (of the city) is 203K, metro area 570K, but I really don't think of either of those figures as a 'small town'.
                                                                                                      I guess it's all in your perspective...
                                                                                                      And yes, I think you can eat pretty darn well in a 'small town', if you know where to go or what to cook.

                                                                                                      1. re: jmcarthur8

                                                                                                        I dont want to dwell on the issue, but I lived in Des Moines for a few years. They would love for the world to think that they are a big city that holds on to the best of small town life, and for many, this is true. If I had never lived anywhere else, I would never WANT to live anywhere else.

                                                                                                        But if you compare Des Moines (Iowa; there are several others scattered around the country) to Madison WI, both around the same population, both the state capital, both with large universities, Des Moines is a pretty small town. Especially where food is concerned.

                                                                                                      2. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                        That, of course, is Mr Leff's well known definition of a foody. It is used in the "Chowhound Manifesto" to distinguish "foodies" from Chowhounds". Have to say, I have rarely read anything, in the food world, more pretentious and "up your own arse" puffery than the Chowhound Manifesto. Or less accurate.

                                                                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                                                                          I think you should bear in mind the context in which the manifesto was written, which is to say circa ~1998 well before the sussing out excellent grub was the bailiwick of pop culture (PBS and a fledgling Food Network were the only TV outlets for people who were really curious about food, and it's telling that the early Food Network shows were a great deal more informative than the tat that fills the screens today.)

                                                                                                          There are parallels to the current food renaissance to the rise of Chinese restaurants in America. So strong was the anti-Chinese sentiment that there was a time in the late 1800s/early 1900s when eating at a Chinese restaurant (if you were not Chinese) would cause you to be shunned by your "respectable" peers. Then the bohemian counterculture of the 1920s spurred an intrepid few adventurous urbanites out of their comfort zone and into these "salacious" Chinatown dens of iniquity to consume the exotic wonders of chop suey. I think you could made an argument that these were the original American Chowhounds (blazing trails, etc.) Being a passionate part of the zeitgeist, and helping to push out the edges of the mainstream comfort zone, is a big part (though not the only part) of being a Chowhound.

                                                                                                          Eventually, somewhere along the line the zeitgeist wanes and melds seamlessly into popular culture. By the 1950s, "Chinese food" (chop suey) was being widely consumed across the country, without the slightest hint of hesitation. It's a pattern that repeats itself in all areas of art, music, food, culture. As go the artists, so go the masses.

                                                                                                          There's an interesting parallel here. In my city of Los Angeles, the Chowhounds of the late 1990s/early 2000s were hanging out in Monterey Park and San Gabriel, scouring the menus of regional Chinese cookery, while mainstream culture was making do with the Americanized steam tables and Panda Expresses. The "foodies" were the ones who would read an article in the LA times, making the occasional jaunt into Chinatown for good-but-not-great Cantonese food, because that's where foodies were expected to go for "authentic" (and I use the term specifically because it is commonly used by people who don't yet understand that it has no real meaning) Chinese food. People like writer Jonathan Gold of the alternative LA Weekly were exploring places (and had been for years) that, to be blunt, white people didn't go to. These people laid the groundwork for what has become a Chinese food revolution in this country.

                                                                                                          It wouldn't surprise me to see at Panda Express, In 30 years time, poor to mediocre versions of steam table Shandong style beef rolls and xiao long bao ("soup dumplings"). And we can thank the Chowhounds (not the foodies!) for that.

                                                                                                          Mr Taster

                                                                                                          1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                            Yep, context understood.

                                                                                                            Food has moved on. Life has moved on. Information sources have moved on.

                                                                                                            Time for the site owners to review whether the manifesto still serves their purposes, or those of the vast majority of site users. I would be gob-smacked if it does.

                                                                                                            1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                              Mr. Taster writes: It wouldn't surprise me to see at Panda Express, In 30 years time, poor to mediocre versions of steam table Shandong style beef rolls and xiao long bao ("soup dumplings"). And we can thank the Chowhounds (not the foodies!) for that.
                                                                                                              ````````````````````
                                                                                                              Why would you be surprised if Panda Express served poor to mediocre versions of anything in 30 years? I have tried 4 different Panda Express locations in my area and they all serve poor to mediocre "Chinese" food now! You're SUCH an optimist! '-)

                                                                                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                I see from your profile that you're in Plano, which I believe is part of the Chinese community of Dallas. As a Chowhound with access to real Chinese food, it's no wonder you're disenchanted with Panda Express!

                                                                                                                Mr Taster

                                                                                                                1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                  Yes, Plano has a nice sized Chinese community, but there is no "China Town", per se. But there are some excellent Chinese and Asian markets in the area. For example, I have the option of buying fish live and bringing them home to clean them myself or I can watch the butcher do it for me. I don't think there are an unusually large number of Chinese restaurants in the area, but there are a fair number of them. Some are good, some are not. I have not yet found a Chinese restaurant in this area I would call great. But I keep hoping.... '-)

                                                                                                              2. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                Great post, Mr Taster.

                                                                                                                I think the manifesto still applies. Most people who call themselves foodies continue to be followers and don't even explore in their own backyard. They flock to wherever the food critic points and then move on. Ever go to an obscure place that the local critic has just annointed? Suddenly packed with a legion of followers standing on long lines that vanish by next month. Short attention span theatre. Trendiness rules. That has not changed nor will it ever change.

                                                                                                                Where I live in the DC area, people might complain about rising prices, but they will completely ignore the little Slavadoran place cranking out a great carne deshilada.

                                                                                                                Chowhounds, as oposed to foodies, still need a place to congregate.

                                                                                                              3. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                I have seen that quote, but am not sure that Mr. Leff really went beyond, except in his mind, and the minds of a few others. I think that it was mostly marketing, and an attempt to differentiate ChowHound.

                                                                                                                I think that too many folk get hung up on semantics, and then try to explain themselves with copious footnotes. I feel that it is an attempt at "exclusivity," and I am not sure that the argument is made all that well.

                                                                                                                Even if it is (and I am wrong), to what end?

                                                                                                                It is not like one having to have a tattoo of an "F" (for foodie), or a "CH" (for Chowhound) applied to their forehead.

                                                                                                                I enjoy this site, but I do not give a whit, what others refer to me as. When it comes to wine (something that I dearly love, and indulge in often), I typify myself as a "wino," where others use different terms, from "expert," to "guru." I just love wine, and greatly appreciate great examples. Mostly, I buy and enjoy, and collect a bit, plus I read and explore the "world of wine," but no term will change that. I am what I am... " {Popeye the Sailor, but typed without the dialect]. In my case, "I am who I am," and "ChowHound," "gourmet," whatever, is meaningless, at least to me.

                                                                                                                Hunt

                                                                                                                1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                  +1 , Mr Hunt (bon viveur extraordinaire)

                                                                                                          2. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                            Those of us from other ( non American) cultures are always interested in these semantic discussions (although perhaps not for overly long). Where I am, folk would have a good understanding of what was implied by "foody", whereas they wouldnt have a clue what was meant by "Chowhound".

                                                                                                            1. re: Harters

                                                                                                              It can depend. If one only considers American (USA) nuances, then there could be other meanings. For me, the distinctions are not that obvious, or even relevant. I guess that I do not care so much, what others call it.

                                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                                              1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                "Chowhound" isn't an American designatoion as much as a concept that is specific to this site which came out of the obsessions of Jim Leff and manifested in a site called "chowhound".

                                                                                                                It's not a common term used throughout so my guess is that those outside this site would be as puzzled-- although possibly, given the language of "chow" and "hound" might assume there is something less rarified than "foodie", which suggests an epicurean approach.

                                                                                                                I was living in the U.S. in the 1990s and recall (if I'm not mistaken) Jim Leff calling into radio stations to describe good meals to be had thorughout NYC. The fact that a cafeteria could rate as high as a top restaurant is what helped cultivate this more populist appreciation of good food.

                                                                                                                In sum: It's very time and location specific, expanding through the internet. It's not exactly an Americanism.

                                                                                                                1. re: Lizard

                                                                                                                  It's the "chow" that I always think of as an Americanism.

                                                                                                                  Certainly it doesnt generally appear iin British English as a synonym for "food" (nor do I think it appears as such in Australian/NZ English).

                                                                                                                  1. re: Harters

                                                                                                                    Just for the record, I'm 78 years old and have heard the term "chowhound" all of my life. I am not positive, but I think it may have originated with the military. I grew up as a Navy brat, and my dad used the term "chowhound" as a mildly derogatory term for a slacker who was the first guy to drop his work and rush to the mess hall for food. It was also used to describe someone who is preoccupied with food. I'm not sure that everyone used it the way my dad most often did, but it is certainly not a new term. For the record, I grew up in San Diego, California's suburbs. I have no idea how old the term is, or where it originated, and I'm too lazy to drag down my OED. That thing is HEAVY! '-)

                                                                                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                      Caroline,

                                                                                                                      Until I came to this site for some restaurant recs, on a recommendation, I had never heard the term, but that might have been regional for me? Thanks for sharing, and we are close to being "contemporaries."

                                                                                                                      Hunt

                                                                                                                      1. re: Bill Hunt

                                                                                                                        Bill, apropos to the number of birthdays we have each experienced first hand, when I was in my very mischievous early teems, I wanted to "vex" my grandmother one day (despite my bent for trouble, I loved that woman with all of my heart!), so I asked her what it was like to get old. To my surprise she did not sputter and fume, but thought a moment then said, "In your mind you can be any age you like. Getting old simply means that as the years pass by, your body betrays you." For me, each passing year underscores my grandmother's great wisdom!

                                                                                                                        As for the term, "Chowhound." I've just spent a bit of time on the web asking Google for answers. Turns out I was just about "on the money." A series of website has explained to me that the term did originate with the U.S. military (no credit to any particular branch of service, but for me it is definitely a Navy term), and one website says that it originated around 1940, or about a year or so before America entered World War II. Everyone of the websites equates the term with three "Big G" words: Gusto, Gluttony, and Gourmand! I guess that makes all of us the little piggies that go to market? You betcha! '-)

                                                                                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                                          Interesting bit of culinary history, and I also think that I would have loved your grandmother.

                                                                                                                          Thank you for sharing,

                                                                                                                          Hunt

                                                                                                          3. I wonder what the people who put out Gourmet magazine would have to say about this discussion.

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: cheesemaestro

                                                                                                              So long as their sales (and advertising revenues) exceed their projections, I'd say "not much."

                                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                                            2. To me gourmet means using foods in pairings, and with the right herbs. Lovely light sauces, cooking meats with technical skills and knowledge, lovely presentation. I think that anything very technical like Julia Child's cooking has to be gourmet. My sister says cookie cutter is a big expression right now, so nothing too cookie cutter in order to be gourmet!

                                                                                                              1. Personally, I have two ways of using the term gourmet:

                                                                                                                Sincerely - if I'm talking about a restaurant or prepared food and want to emphasize that it is particularly sophisticated, creative, or exciting. And also that there is an element of 'fanciness' to it. So in the case of recommending a 'gourmet' hotdog stand for a first date, or making/buying a 'gourmet' dessert to serve to future in-laws - that there would be the a degree of fanciness and good food suitable for the occasion.

                                                                                                                Snarkily - That the place is fancy for the sake of being fancy. Where trendy, rare, or expensive ingredients are used in a way that's unnecessarily excessive.

                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                1. I think "gourmet" is an entirely subjective word that is almost meaningless in most circumstances in which it is used--usually, it is an empty word used for marketing purposes.

                                                                                                                  I only use the word "gourmet" casually...not when I need any sort of precise meaning or definition, and I recognize it's entirely subjective.

                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                  1. re: cazort

                                                                                                                    >> I only use the word "gourmet" casually...not when I need any sort of precise meaning or definition

                                                                                                                    If a word has no precise meaning or definition, why use it at all? Why not use words that clearly articulate the meaning you want to convey?

                                                                                                                    Mr Taster

                                                                                                                  2. I personally always apply three things in particular to the definition of gourmet. That it contains only highest quality fresh meat/fish/produce etc, that every part of the recipe is made with these fresh quality ingredients from first principles and lastly it is presented nicely. It dosent have to be pretentious.

                                                                                                                    Just ruddy good quality!

                                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: Marty_Spants

                                                                                                                      So, how would you differentiate your usage of "gourmet" from "artisan"?

                                                                                                                      Mr Taster

                                                                                                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                        Thats simple my friend. Artisan cooking would make the best of what was available, wheras gourmet could only be the best period.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                          I would suggest that 'artisan' when applied to food is supposed to speak to who made it and the techniques, traditions, and base of knowledge said maker drew upon. 'Artisan bread' would mean bread made by artisans.

                                                                                                                          'Gourmet' when applied to food is supposed to speak more directly to the quality of the food itself.

                                                                                                                          In practice, neither term really works that way. See my above post ( http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8553... ). But that's the intent.

                                                                                                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                            The truth, of course, has already been vetted above. They're both real terms that were co-opted by marketers and subsequently converted into bullshit descriptors. They were then secondarily co-opted by normal people who disassociate them from their bullshit marketing origins.

                                                                                                                            "Artisan" is the new "gourmet". To use either term in any capacity other than their original meaning means that you're far too susceptible to marketing and advertisement lingo.

                                                                                                                            End of story :)

                                                                                                                            Mr Taster

                                                                                                                            1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                                                              '"Artisan" is the new "gourmet". To use either term in any capacity other than their original meaning means that you're far too susceptible to marketing and advertisement lingo.'
                                                                                                                              _______

                                                                                                                              Honestly, I suspect that the terms have been so widely used and abused as marketing jargon that they are now essentially useless terms in the common vernacular, and even using them in their original meaning is now a lost cause. Though I do think 'gourmet' still has use as a polite compliment/acknowledgement from the bewildered.

                                                                                                                        2. re: Marty_Spants

                                                                                                                          So a nicely presented taco could be "gourmet"?

                                                                                                                          1. re: Chinon00

                                                                                                                            An 'artisan' taco uses a tortilla made from freshly made nixtamal that has been hand ground on a metate, hand formed, and cooked on a clay comal. :)

                                                                                                                            Except that the men who made the metate and comal might have been described as 'artisanos', but the women who used them were just 'mujers'.

                                                                                                                            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hdit7j...

                                                                                                                        3. Yeah, I think it's like porn. I know it when I see it. Your definition may be different.