Atmosphere is Everything
I have a favorite question I love to ask friends (new and old) to get to know them better. I am curious about their most memorable and enjoyable food experiences. What I inevitably find, which is absolutely true for myself, is that the most memorable food experiences had to do partially with the food and partially (perhaps even more?) with the experience and the ambience.
A few highlights from my history of eating food (I’ll probably do a follow up post on these)…
1) An authentic crawdad boil in middle school.
2) A hole-in-the-wall Chinese place blaring 90s rap & hip hop.
3) Lobster bisque that was mind-melting.
Watching the most recent season of Chef’s Table was a reminder of this intuitive, although looked-over, fact of business / life / etc. Crafting a meaningful experience is equally as important as the product you put out into the world. The best chefs are finding ways to tease out multi-sensory experiences that are unexpected. This is what sets them a part. A lot of people can make fantastic food.
To be clear, one doesn’t function without the other, but both of them working in tandem (product & experience) is where the magic happens.