A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 26, 2014
Egotarian Cuisine

Alan Richman, a food writer for GQ magazine, wrote in the article “The Rise of Egotarian Cuisine” in March 2014:

“This style of dining is currently nameless. What makes the food different is that every chef is seeking to express himself in an incomparable and triumphant manner. I call it Egotarian Cuisine.”

“GQ’s Alan Richman Coins New Term: Egotarian Cuisine” appeared on the Eater blog on March 26, 2014. Richman’s term “egotarian” was frequently cited on Twitter.


GQ
Alan Richman: The Rise of Egotarian Cuisine
Something has gone wrong in our restaurant kitchens lately. Suddenly, a new breed of chefs seems to have decided that they should be cooking not for your pleasure but for their own. In this competitive, male-dominated school of cooking, the dishes that customers are served may be highly inventive and intelligent, but as Alan Richman notes, too often they are more self-indulgent than inspired. The result? Restaurants where the only person who needs to be pleased is never you, just the chef.
BY ALAN RICHMAN ILLUSTRATION BY DAVID GONZALEZ
March 18, 2014
(...)
This style of dining is currently nameless. What makes the food different is that every chef is seeking to express himself in an incomparable and triumphant manner. I call it Egotarian Cuisine.

The food is ingenious. It’s occasionally brilliant. Too often, it’s awful.

The chefs behind it, many of them acclaimed, test culinary boundaries, push themselves to the edge of the cliff and sometimes drop off. You’ll come upon this food if you’re heading for a restaurant that serves small-plate dishes that express the inspirations of the chef, and if what appears before you are compilations of ingredients never previously compiled.

This is the first food development in America that exists not because customers are eager for it but because chefs insist on doing it. Sometimes it’s about foraging. Sometimes technology. Sometimes both. Just about anything can and will get pickled or fermented. The restaurants, usually small but sometimes not, are frequently found in the oddest places—Aska, until this week, was located within an art and design exhibition space called Kinfolk Studios.

Twitter
GQ Magazine
‏@GQMagazine
Alan Richman on the rise of Egotarian Cuisine: Restaurants where the only one needing to be pleased, is the chef: http://gqm.ag/1jr488E
11:22 AM - 25 Mar 2014

Eater
GQ’s Alan Richman Coins New Term: Egotarian Cuisine
Wednesday, March 26, 2014, by Hillary Dixler
Often controversial GQ critic Alan Richman has invented a new phrase to define what he sees as the country’s “latest gastronomic trend”: “Egotarian Cuisine.” He writes: “The food is ingenious. It’s occasionally brilliant. Too often, it’s awful ... This is the first food development in America that exists not because customers are eager for it but because chefs insist on doing it.” Richman drops the hammer, saying that with egotarian cuisine: “The job of the customer is to eat what’s placed before him, and then applaud.”

The nature of the cuisine Richman is trying to define can be hard to pin down, but here are some of the markers: “The chef explains that his cooking has ‘a story to tell,’ and it’s a romantic novel of self-love,” “a restaurant that serves small-plate dishes that express the inspirations of the chef, and if what appears before you are compilations of ingredients never previously compiled” and chefs who “test culinary boundaries, push themselves to the edge of the cliff and sometimes drop off.” Richman classifies much of New Nordic cuisine in America as egotarian.

So who, exactly is serving this egotarian cuisine? According to Richman, this is the work of men, and men alone: “Not once have I seen a female chef prepare such food ... I don’t recall ever encountering such gender-specific cooking.”

Twitter
Jeff Donald
‏@jeffdonald
The rise of egotarian cuisine. “The job of the customer is to eat what’s placed before him, and then applaud.” http://www.gq.com/life/food/201403/alan-richman-dude-food
3:58 PM - 26 Mar 2014

Twitter
t.a.h.
‏@gaipan
A great article on the bizarre turn away from the classics in restaurants. I love the term “egotarian” as well.  http://www.gq.com/life/food/201403/alan-richman-dude-food?currentPage=2
8:57 PM - 26 Mar 2014 from New York, NY

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Wednesday, March 26, 2014 • Permalink