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Between the earthly and the divine

so good #5

January 11, 2011
so good #5
Between the earthly and the divine

Gastronomy isn’t unaware of economy. In fact we can find certain similarities between both disciplines in the recent years: unlimited growth, golden years, bubble, and now the hard return to reality.
We find ourselves before a new time, a new stage which also creates new challenges. Crises obligate reassessment, a reflection, and shaking up the establishment. But they can also bring interesting opportunities for the future.  More and more voices speak of a necessary turn towards a sustainable, healthy, and viable gastronomy.

Firstly, sustainability means a necessary reconciliation between chefs and producers, backing up responsible farming and with an unconditional commitment on quality products which are closer to their destination.

Secondly, one of the biggest questions is the concern for what we eat. Making gastronomy healthier by finding a fair balance in terms of flavor, pleasure, and enjoyment is not an option for the future, it is already an obligation. And this means an important restructuring in the use of ingredients, in the creation of recipes, and in professional mentality.
Finally, and in clear connection with the current economic climate, finding solutions to face this crisis is of outmost importance. It is necessary to optimize resources, reduce costs, and eliminate accessory elements to maintain quality in the essential, and securing the viability of each business.

But the greatest challenge which a professional in cuisine has before him, and it is especially so in pastry, is to carry out the aforementioned requisites without losing their identity. Those who sell gastronomy sell happiness and pleasure, and setting limits to an artisan’s ability to seduce with his creations and provoke desire in a customer is questioning their main reason for being. Pastry, in strictly practical and functional terms, is dispensable; it does not form part of essential needs. Therefore, it owes its existence to other more sensorial and emotional reasons. Magic, glamour, exquisiteness, exclusiveness, and even luxury are some of the characteristics which accompany and define haute pâtisserie. The challenge is then finding a fair balance between the rational and the pleasurable, between what is healthy and what is delicious, between the earthly and the divine. It won’t be easy.

This editorial is in so good #5