The scientists say that as human beings we form new habits and memories, every four to six weeks. The implication of that fact is two-fold. Firstly, we have now formed new habits and comforts which revolve around being at home and living in a much smaller world. Secondly, we have forgotten what our favourite meal in our favourite restaurant tastes like!
Oh yes, we clearly recollect that we used to love that Italian place or the Thai place or the fish and chip plaice… see what I did there? However, what did that delicious dish taste like? Can you summon it up onto your taste buds now? No, I can’t either.
So, consider this. When the restaurants re-open and they will re-open, we will patronise them. We will take in the new environment and protocols whatever they may be and then we will taste the food. Our favourite dish will be presented to us and we will have the utter joy of falling in love with it all over again.
Forgive me but I don’t want to queue for hours on end to receive a burger which could have been made in any one of around 38,000 outlets around the world. I ate it in London and I ate it in Rome. I ate it in Chicago and I ate it in Bangkok. It pretty much tasted the same each time and it served a purpose but did not satisfy a passion.
I don’t want to dine with Wendy or Ronald. I just want a plate which is flavoured with passion. A plate of food which is a love letter from the chef to me. The chef crafted it. I consumed it. We both celebrated a shared joy of the tastes, the textures, and the ingredients.
I know that when the lady on the table next to me albeit next to me is probably two metres away; when she orders the dish, I have eaten; it will be the same and yet different. The chef will maybe dress the salad a little more, favour the sugar snaps over the asparagus, drizzle the jus anticlockwise where he drizzled mine clockwise. Her dish is prepared with her in mind as the recipient of the love letter crafted by the chef.
Who knows what the new normal will look like? Who knows if the server will greet me wearing a mask? Who knows if my meal will be delivered by robot or drone? Who knows if any other diner in the place is just a hologram to provide ambience? What I do know is when those tables are laid once more, I want nothing more than to feast and fiesta in the restaurants of Chester…