After many decades, if not centuries, of neglect of fine food and high-level restaurants in Britain, we are seeing a massive explosion of interest in food, cooking, and dining out. Christel Lane's book charts the process of this transformation and examines top contemporary restaurants and their chefs.
The Cultivation of Taste presents a comparative study of Michelin-starred restaurants in Britain and Germany, focusing on two countries without an indigenous haute cuisine but which nevertheless have developed internationally reputed fine-dining sectors, and comparing their development to the fine-dining culture in France. Written from a sociological perspective, chefs are portrayed as part of a complex network, in their relationships with their employees, their customers, gastronomic
critics, suppliers of food, and even their financiers. It will appeal to academics in the areas of economic and cultural sociology, and those with an interest in small entrepreneurial firms and their work relations, but also to all those who have an interest in fine-dining restaurants and the chef patrons at
the centre of them.
The book draws on a large number of interviews with renowned chefs, diners, and Michelin inspectors to provide an unprecedented insight into what goes on in Michelin-starred restaurants-what makes their chefs tick, intrigues their critics, and beguiles or annoys their customers. Restaurants are viewed not simply as businesses but as cultural enterprises that shape our taste in food, ambience, and sociality.
Christel Lane has been a Professor of Economic Sociology at the University of Cambridge and is a Fellow of St. John's College. Christel has been working on fine-dining restaurants in Britain and Germany since 2009. Visiting a large number of Michelin-starred restaurants and their chefs, she has published articles on this topic in the journals Food, Culture and Society, British Journal of Sociology, and Poetics. This work combines her long-standing interest in economic sociology with the sociology of culture. Christel's most recent books are Capitalist Diversity and Diversity within Capitalism (Routledge 2012, edited with Geoffrey Wood); and National Capitalism, Global Production Networks.Fashioning the Value Chain in Britain, the US and Germany (OUP 2009, with Jocelyn Probert).
Introduction ; 1. The Fine Dining Restaurant Industry in Historical Perspective ; 2. The Michelin-Starred Restaurant Sector Today ; 3. Vocation or Business? Competing Organizational Logics and Work Orientations of Chefs ; 4. Fine-Dining Chefs: Iconic Figures or Work Horses? ; 5. Distinctiveness, Homogeneity, and Innovation in Haute Cuisine ; 6. Chefs' Culinary Styles ; 7. Front-of-House Staff: Hosts, Sales Persons, or Communicators of Expert Knowledge? ; 8. Supplier Relations: Quality, Price, and Trust. ; 9. Diners: In Search of Gustatory Pleasure or Symbolic Meaning? ; 10. Taste Makers: the Attribution of Aesthetic and Economic Value by Gastronomic Critics and Guides ; 11. The Transformation of the Fine-Dining Sector