Culinary Chronicles

What is Gourmet Food?

We are often exposed to the term gourmet. What makes one food gourmet over others and where did this type of food evolve from? Also what is the future of gourmet cuisine? These are some of the questions we will try and answer in today’s post. Before we do that however, here is a disclaimer: The word gourmet is not restricted ONLY to one style of cooking or cuisine. This simply means that every cooking tradition in the world, and not just French, Italian and Mediterranean foods are gourmet. Indian chefs like Vikas Arora, Vineet Bhatia, Sriram Aylur and Sanjeev Kapoor have done much to elevate Indian cuisine to gourmet levels. That being said, let’s delve further into understanding gourmet food. 


Origin of the term GOURMET

The word gourmet (as you’ve probably guessed) belongs to the French. It was first used in the French restaurant guide ‘Almanach des Gourmands’ by Monsieur Grimod de la Reynière. Published between 1803 to 1812. It was essentially the predecessor to the Michelin Food Guide. Coincidentally the term is not restricted to food, restaurants and chefs. It also encompasses people, stores, ingredients and online portals that sell ingredients. 


So what makes a person, ingredient or online store GOURMET?

A gourmet is a person with a highly attuned sense of taste, and an especially refined palate when it comes to rich, high end cuisine and cooking techniques. A gourmet ingredient is generally an ingredient of high quality that is normally not freely available in a particular geographical area. For instance, Enoki mushrooms may be considered gourmet in India. The word Gourmet is also associated with an ingredient that is native to a particular area and is therefore considered to be authentic. Examples of this would include, Champagne, Dijon Mustard, Prosciutto, Wasabi, and several specifically regional specialities from around the world. An online store that curates such foods from all over the world therefore is a Gourmet Store. Much like Chenab Gourmet that works tirelessly with some of the world’s most respected gourmet brands to bring gourmet ingredients to the Indian market. 


Why is gourmet food a growing category in India?

Gourmet food is a category that is poised for exponential growth. According to a report by the Indian Food Processing Association report (citation), it was valued at $1.3 billion in 2015 and is expected to grow by a CAGR (Compounded Annual Growth Rate) of 20 percent year-on-year until 2020. There are many reasons for these. First and foremost of these would be the increase in middle class incomes. Travel and exploration of international cuisines is another major factor. The introduction of fine dining establishments in 5 star hotels and on high streets with the option of dine-in and delivery with partners like DineOut, Swiggy and Zomato is also a major factor. The proliferation of food based shows like MasterChef Australia and shows on Travel & Living and NDTV GoodTimes are also seen as accelerators. Social media sites like Instagram are also a huge catalyst in turning young and middle aged Indians on to food trends and gourmet in particular.


Gourmet food is not snobbish or inaccessible, in fact we at Chenab Gourmet are trying our best to make it accessible and available. Start your journey of gourmet discovery with us.

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