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Gastronomy is defined as the science of flavour and tasting. Gastronomy is not merely about culinary enjoyment or ‘the practice or art of choosing, cooking and eating good food’, as the Oxford dictionary states. A gastronome is also much more than a foodie. He or she can – and in relevant situations should – be a modern and broadly trained food professional that knows a lot about flavour, taste and tasting.

Gastronomy has grown into a comprehensive theory evolved from practice. Rather different than many people think, flavour can indeed be assessed in an objective way. The parameters, mouth feel and flavour richness; enable an original description of flavour and this creates a wealth of possibilities.
Understanding the essence of gastronomy is not only applicable in luxury restaurants, or wine and food pairing. Knowing more about flavour and tasting relates, in fact, to important issues in society such as; food and health, food and the elderly, obesity and other food related problems, sustainability, farming and food production, environmental issues, etc. Gastronomy also sheds light on the marketing and packaging of food products. In Denmark the Culinary Success Factors have been applied to hospital food and the concept appears to be spreading to other hospitals as well, much to the satisfaction of the patients.

Hotel school students are expected to be able to ascertain their guests’ enjoyment of what they are being served, because, bottom line, is that the guests taste and must pay for the hotel’s food and service. Clearly, it is vital for a successful operation that paying guests like what they have been served and consume. However important, without specific knowledge, liking is an erratic concept. It is not only dependent on the actual products and their flavour but their culinary experiences. People travel more and more around the world and experience many foods and tastes from other cultures, as well as, eating habits. This leads to many guests being more critical about the hotel and dining services rendered to them, wherever they are.

This leads to high expectations on the delivery of excellent hotel and dining services from the modern professionals in hospitality. They must be well trained to be successful in their trade. They should know about; the influences of varieties and agricultural methods on taste, something of the physical and chemical side of products, and they should be aware of the influences of preparation techniques on taste. This knowledge needs to extend into drinks and beverage services. This includes the mutual influences of products consumed and paired with foods. Paramount is that they fully understand, in all respects (cultural, psychological, sociological), the person or guest who is tasting and receiving their services. The professional gastronome is a well-trained professional who can lead organizations, or parts of it, where foods and drinks are served. The gastronome is neither the chef, nor the sommelier, but he or she understands their language and can communicate with them. Nor is a gastronome a food scientist, yet he of she knows enough of the processes involved to organise that something tasty gets on a plate or in a glass. He or she is an all-round professional.


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