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by Lia Blanchard

They might call themselves a gourmet, a gourmand, a foodie, or “someone who just likes to cook”. But really, what qualifies a chef (or dish) as “gourmet”? What do they have that the others don’t?

Is it taste?

The assumption is that “gourmet” food tastes better than “regular stuff”. But really, if it were only taste-based, the Doritos® Locos Tacos from Taco Bell® would qualify, so we’ll have to look a little deeper if we’re trying to determine specifics.

Is it higher-quality ingredients?

Now we’re getting somewhere. Macaroni and cheese from a box isn’t gourmet by anyone’s standards, but handmade pasta with aged Gruyere cheese and truffle oil, Turkish paprika, lobster, and shredded Vidalia onions comes a lot closer. (Want to make it? Modify this recipe.)

Is it presentation?

When we think “gourmet” dish, most folks picture some odd-looking arrangement of the food. You know, like this:

A dish from Pierre Gagnaire

But does presentation really factor into whether or not a dish is considered “gourmet”? And if they use the term “plating” instead of “presentation”… does THAT make it gourmet?

Is it portion size?

A common complaint of many “gourmet” restaurants is that the portion sizes are way too small. Portion sizes in American restaurants have tripled in the last 20 years, so the dainty-looking collection placed before you in a gourmet restaurant may seem, by comparison, too small even for a child.

Are you all a bunch of gourmets at Art of Appreciation?

Anji, the owner of the company, is by anyone’s definition, a gourmet. She and Bill share a passion for food, including its taste, quality, presentation, and size; when they travel or entertain much attention is paid to enjoying the food. Anji once made a living as a personal chef. For AOA, she personally selects basket ingredients that meet her high standards for taste, quality, and ease of shipping.

Many of AOA’s employees share Anji and Bill’s passion for food, but some prefer the term “aficionado” or “foodie”. And the rest of us just enjoy being around all the good food!

So… what’s the answer?

The fact is that there is no hard definition of gourmet. It is about taste, quality, and presentation… and it isn’t. We like to call it simply “the art of food.”

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