Essay: Gastronomy Food and Drink Tourism in Hospitality Industries

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¶ … tourism of a country is an important contributor to the national economy in addition to triggering the process of continuous evolution and modernity. A lot of time, effort and resources have been dedicated to the cause of predicting the future of the tourism industry. In this context, researchers have managed to find a strong link between the hospitality business and the tourism industry. Culture, heritage and local culinary expertise are all constituents of the backbone of the hospitality business i.e. hotels and restaurants. Hospitality management business however has also been widely criticized due to its focus on gastronomy, food and drink; the three elements crucial to the success of the hospitality business.

Both the gastronomy studies and hospitality have been working towards becoming independent academic disciplines however the fact that both are intricately linked with one another can't be denied. Many academics do not take hospitality as a business serious enough to be given the status of a new branch of academics whereas, on the other hand, many believe that at the most, it should be included in business and management studies and they fail to agree with the notion that it should take an individual identity in the academic world.

Hospitality and Tourism industry is amongst one of the fastest growing industries in the world. The most unique aspect of this industry is the fact that it comprises of so many different professions. The restaurant business is a major constituent of this industry. A visit to a restaurant may be made for various reasons. Not only do restaurants accommodate people with their biological need of eating, they also fulfill other needs such as the need to be entertained or the need to socialize.

The link of hospitality business and food and drink is also very evident because no civilization can begin unless a definite food supply is taken up. It has also been claimed that in hospitality food has a central role to play. Lashley has argued that food needs to be included as a key element in the hospitality studies for a number of reasons some of which he has stated in his work Lashley (2000a) that Drinks as well as food that people take have major role in identifying groups, societies and communities. Also he added that eating and drinking habits and activities associated with it create many basic human characteristics. New theories have been formed in consequence of the stressing on the importance of drinking and eating. Hospitality is strongly interlinked with gastronomy studies.

Any clear cut and precise definition of Hospitality is not likely to be available since little or no academic investigation has been done on this concept however it can be broadly defined as a periodic voluntary human exchange which enhances or improves the mutual well being of all parties involved. This mutual well being is facilitated through the provision of accommodation and/or food, and/or drink. Through this definition it can be grasped that the basic concept of human exchange lies at the base of the concept of hospitality.

Food tourism

One of the essential elements of a tourist's experience is food. However this element is of such importance that in the past few years it has become under investigative research. For many years however food hasn't been considered a "serious" field of academics due to dominant narrative. Food is an integral component of cultural and heritage tourism since it has been recognized as an expression of identity and culture. Wine and food have been linked as expressions of a specific region's culture and its environment. This relationship is extremely important in context of tourism.

Tourism has played a major role in globalization and there exists a substantial amount of concern that it can play its part in the homogenization of culture including food. Food is an attraction in itself when one speaks of travel and tourism. Tourists tend to travel to specific destinations that are known for providing quality food products for instance Tuscany in Italy, Provence in France and Napa Valley in California.

CRITICAL EVALUATION OF THE FIELD OF GASTRONOMY:

Gastronomy is defined as a trans disciplinary view that complements and not replaces the ideas that are presented by many disciplines studying food and marketing, food and culture and food and society. It also fulfills the urgent need to identify the insufficiencies, efficiencies and possible improvements in the gastronomic life of communities (Scarpato, 2001b).

Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1994) laid the foundation for gastronomy by bringing together the enjoyment of excellent food and reflective eating and cooking in La physiologie du gout (The physiology of taste). Brillat-Savarin (1994, p.52) has made clear that objective of gastronomy is to obtain preservation of man through optimal and advantageous diet. Also he further added that gastronomy is the main reason which motivates farmers, fishermen, huntsmen, and particularly cooks as their employment is directly related to preparation of food. He also claimed that gastronomy should have its own "academicians, universities, professors and prizes" and should be considered as another field of science.

However Brillat-Savarin's view of gastronomy never was widely accepted due to their friction with dominant narratives i.e. The mono disciplinary schemes of his times and the times that followed. But later on the same reasons that failed to get the field of gastronomy noticed by academia led to the re evaluation of Savarin's ideas. His work has also become the basis of theoretical framework of gastronomy studies (Scarpato, 2000, p. 46).

Symons (1998) has argued that people such as food and wine writers, consultants, researchers, educators and anyone working for gastronomic agencies including restaurants to tourist resorts have been silenced for long by the dominant narratives, which represent their work as "too common, pervasive, trivial, unproblematic."

However cooks have been noticed to be an exemplary case within both gastronomy and hospitality. As stated by (Symons, 1998) cooks have always been present but unnoticed.

Due to rejection of gastronomy as an individual discipline, it has had no choice but to take the aid of the multi-disciplinary phenomenon; the route that most social and cultural theories have had to take. The traditional disciplines that are classified as social sciences and contribute to gastronomy include philosophy, nutrition, sociology, history, languages, literature, cooking and hospitality.

FOOD AND NATIONAL IDENTITY

Many contemporary researchers have determined that there is a connection between food and culture which reflects in the national identity for instance the food and culture interlink can be clearly observed in the Philippines. Many have reached the conclusion that food is in fact the basic factor that shows the cultural influences of one nation on another. A new theory has come on the surface which states that there is a strong affinity in learning modern food ways and acquisition of tastes from other countries while conserving one's own food culture. According to Kleinfelder the food habits and traditional ways of cooking play an important role in the national identity (Kleinfelder, 2004) and therefore food have become a major part of different cultures. Eating habit define the characteristics of the people living in the society and because of this, today people in specific regions like specific type of foods.

The culinary tourism in Taiwan is transformed from national cuisines. The culinary tourism however was deeply influenced by the political and economic transformation in the country. Dietary culture of a country makes a strong impact on the traditional cuisines of the country. Culinary or food tourism has restored the trend of ethnic food and cuisine consumption. Chuang states that the previous colonial experience and globalization have gradually changed the Taiwanese foods (Chuang, 2009).

DESCRIPTION:

Gastronomy and hospitality both have been called for to be broadened. However the unsustainable can be overcome through a better focused hospitality management. Symons (1998) has expressed their view in the "Darwanian" context of the industry that has been often been identified by ramshackle human resource management. Symons further states that the gastronomy studies are specifically responsive to the many issues such as the Darwanian perspective of the industry and treatment of employees as strangers since the very same attitudes lead back to the devaluing of cooks and other gastronomy activities in the past.

Many arguments and considerations other than the above mentioned however have been passed from gastronomy studies to hospitality and back. Some of the majorly significant considerations and arguments outlined below corroborate the cry for a new hospitality.

COMMON ROOTS

When extended to the realms of social and private, the boundaries of hospitality come under the new framework which encompasses significance of food, home cooking and so on and so forth…in other words, it enters the conventionally defined territory of gastronomy. The supporters of this extension of hospitality into the realms of gastronomy have through the referencing of the foundations of the field of gastronomy have managed to validate these links. However the credibility of the whole process is vulnerable to jeopardy due to the propensity of hospitality-based valuations of eating and drinking activities. The claims of both being "related subjects" with… [END OF PREVIEW]

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