The importance of great food… great conversation.. and acknowledging that hospitality sits at the heart of daily life
Over the last year, there has been a common theme of a move back towards old fashioned values. EP has often written about this trend with the Age of Trust but it can be seen in all walks of life – with Barclays “Life Skills” campaign to the drive towards eating a balanced diet and wellbeing.
It is clear that modern life combines the speed of modern information flow with a desire for a return to old fashioned social values that involves the importance of community, local crafts and shops and the need to set time aside to sit together socially and eat/talk. Hospitality does sit so centrally at the heart of our lives – and arguably more so than ever before.
Two of the most common comments that we receive are:
- We need to make food more central to our lives and for people to understand the importance of good food.
- It is very important for people to just spend some time to sit down over a meal and take time to socially interact – whether at home over dinner, at school or the workplace. More and more people are snacking, eating at their desks, eating in front of the television or eating whilst listening to their ipods but it is not healthy.
This theme ties in closely with many of the central ideas that run through many discussion that EP has had in all sectors of the industry. Today emails start arriving at 6am, texts from about 6.30am and it all seems to go on until about 9pm in the evening. We are all eternally accessible through email, mobile, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter – and the rest. Communication is constant and time to just stop and think is almost non-existent.
In some ways, it is impressive how just everyone has adapted to the speed of modern life but no one seems to have time to just stop and think/reflect. There surely needs to be a better balance?
Add in a few other facts:
- The average working days has increased by 15% in the last decade
- Executives read 30% more data each day
- The time for making a decision has reduced by 45%
Of course, there is a danger that it all becomes a bit “preachy” but the truth is that hospitality sits centrally in everyone’s lives in one way or another and maybe the industry can work together to promote the importance of great food and taking the time to just sit, reflect and talk? In a sense hospitality has never had a better opportunity to promote its attributes by promoting good social practice.
The counter and confirmation is the rise of eating out as part of our social lives. People do eat out more often but it is often casual dining. This shows the central role that hospitality play in everyone’s lives. The question is has this increased frequency taken away from the meaning that an evening out used to have? Are we conscious of the time that we are spending with others – or has this just become another automated process? Can the industry play a role in encouraging better practice?
This can reach all corners of daily life – schools, workplace, hotels, restaurants, pubs and more. Just 15 minutes a day to sit, talk and reflect with some good food would be a step forward for many.
It may be an old fashioned ideal but one that is as important today as ever.
In association with Chefs Adopt a School and the Royal Academy of Culinary Arts
For more information on getting involved with the Breaking Bread campaign, please contact Arlene McCaffrey