So often we associate disruption with technology, like lightning-fast trains and augmented reality. Which is great — that shit is disruptive — but sometimes change can be softer. Sometimes it’s the subtle shift of an idea, not the earth shattering launch of an iPhone.
When it comes to food in particular, disruption is all around you. (And, no, we’re not just talking about the now ubiquitous avocado toast.) It’s the reason you ordered a green juice this morning. Your preference for organic, local fish. The realization that $300 of sharehouse groceries will result in an incredible amount of food waste.
From TV personalities to New York chefs to world famous restaurateurs, Whalebone caught up with the disrupters revolutionizing the way you think, eat and feel about food. We’ve got Tom Colicchio talking about the need for food policy in presidential elections, Nat Young advocating for a less expensive, modern steakhouse and Adam Richman fighting for the democratization of food — and that’s just to start. So, kick back with that (hopefully local and organic) lemonade. We’re diving deep.
Resume: Host, The James Beard Award-winning I’ll Have What Phil’s Having; creator, Everybody Loves Raymond
Vision: Step away from Instagram.
The Issue: Let’s face it: cell phones have disrupted everyone’s lives. I know I’m on mine way too much, living virtually as opposed to in reality. We’re already cyborgs — half human, half phone. And in my opinion, that transition has a clear application to food. Instagram is just about the most disruptive thing to happen to dining in the past 10, 20 years.
Now, chefs have to think about social media when presenting their food. Diners think about photographing their food before they think about eating it. Could this be a triumph of style over substance?
The Disruption: With my current TV show, there are two things I’m looking to disrupt: one, the idea that photographing one’s food is more important than enjoying one’s food. (Trust me, if you’d grown up in the Rosenthal household you wouldn’t take good food for granted.) And the second is that we all be a little less afraid to try new things.
If you look at me — or at the characters I created on Everybody Loves Raymond — I’m all about the average guy. I’m no Anthony Bourdain. I’m not going to Beirut to get shot at…so, if someone watches my show and says, “If Phil can eat that, I can,” and then they go and try it…well, then my disruption is complete.
Read more from our Chefs of the Round Table series: