Claire Smith: Food on the go is the future for Scots on the move
LAST year in New York I noticed a strange phenomenon amid the trendy garment stores of the funky Soho district.
In between the achingly cool outlets selling Nicole Fahri and Agnes b were achingly cool shops selling baking ingredients, wooden spoons, weighing measures and kitchen scales.
Making your own food in New York has become so eccentric and unusual it has become cool. The norm is to eat out – with every street in Manhattan paved with eateries of every description, selling food from everywhere in the world.
I mention this because, despite the recession, it seems we Brits are going in the same direction.
According to research published this week, the average person in the UK now eats out almost three times a week – compared to just over twice a week a year ago.
We are becoming a nation of casual diners – with pub food and easy unpretentious chains like Wagamama, Nandos and Yo Sushi offering an easier option than trudging to the supermarket and hauling back a heap of bags.
Meanwhile, fine dining is more popular than ever – with Edinburgh in particular becoming a gastronomic destination in a way that would have been inconceivable 20 years ago. To the point where we have Michelin-starred restaurants coming out of our ears.
But how far can it go? And will the appetite for eating out keep growing and growing?
The word on the street is that the restaurant business in Edinburgh is about to go through a massive period of expansion – with several large eating establishments recently opened or about to open.
Privately, people in the trade are twitchy – saying the city’s appetite for eating out might not match the huge increase in capacity. But I hope they are wrong.
Personally I would love to see us adopt a foodie culture like they have in New York – where dining on the hop is such a part of the culture that new sandwich fillings are discussed on the local network news.
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Thursday 20 June 2013
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