Who Says Fine Dining Is Dead?


Who Says Fine Dining Is Dead?


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Ok, we’re going out on a limb here: Fine dining is here to stay. And it’s not being replaced by “fun” dining, despite the recent crop of rock star chefs serving up emoji-inspired menus or celebrity cooks doling out quirky, Instagram-friendly dishes.

So while older millennials (read: hipster restaurateurs and chefs) threw fine dining on its head, a recent survey conducted by CatchOn on college-age foodies indicated younger millennials want fine dining to stay, complete with all its traditional trappings. But with minor tweaks (we’ll get to that later).

We polled 90 self-proclaimed foodies (aged between 19-24) worldwide about their first fine dining experience, their impressions, preferences and dislikes.

Here’s what we found:
– Kitchen tours, chef’s tables or sycophantic interactions with the chef
– Impressive wine collections
– Long-winded meals beyond two hours
– Private rooms
– Healthy options (when you’re in a fine dining establishment, it’s time to indulge!)

They are interested in…
– Having a la carte options alongside the degustation menu
– Instagram-worthy design and dishes (no surprises there!)
– The restaurant’s awards and accolades
– Cocktail experiences and wine pairings (are they old enough to drink?)
– Ingredients’ provenance
– The restaurant’s acoustics and noise level. (Do you hear that, designers?)

Our respondents said they‘re drawn to fine dining’s “sense of occasion” and associate it with a treasured “tradition.” In a time of uncertainty and disruption, fine dining’s decorum and formality give them a sense of security and continuity.

This is not to say fine dining should be frozen in time and be a victim of its own stereotypes. Menus are getting lighter and more whimsical. Wait staff have loosened up their ties and are doing away with stiff service delivery. Prices are getting more accessible and meal durations are shorter to accommodate this concentration-challenged demographic.

So while fine dining is here to stay, it is subtly evolving. Throw out the table cloths but hang on to the silver.

This is an excerpt from CatchOn’s fourth Future of Food report, “The Field Guide to Millennial Foodies”. As Asia’s leading food PR agency specializing in brand strategy consulting, often enough we get asked for insights. Being a creative agency in the food scene also means weʼre usually busy spicing up brands, cooking up ideas, stirring up media interest, making the unsavoury palatable… and always on the hunt for whatʼs next.

Catherine Feliciano-Chon

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