Food, a basic necessity often scarce for many, has evolved along a spectrum of sophistication – one that encompasses a diverse array of ingredients, preparation techniques, extrasensory experiences and expert mastery and execution – in a manner that transcends time and distance while enhancing cultural understanding. As technology shrinks distance and people are more globally mobile than ever before, gastronomy is becoming a universal language with the power to communicate both the authentic heritage of a region and the harmony of worldly experiences for global palates. Concurrently, many international businesses are paying attention to “global cities” indices such as those published by A.T. Kearney and McKinsey to guide business decisions in an ever more globalized world. As both a business and a cultural representation, gastronomy can be harnessed as an element and an indicator of globalization on a city level.
There is historically little intersection of gastronomy and academic discourse, let alone investigative studies about the implications of and on globalization for the many stakeholders in food-related businesses and those affected by them across the world. The Gastronomy Team at The Lauder Institute Master of International Studies dual-degree program with The Wharton School spent the summer of 2012 interviewing chefs, restaurateurs, city planners and other stakeholders in the world’s best restaurants in Dubai, São Paulo and Singapore. The purpose of this project is to gain a better understanding of how gastronomy and globalization are interconnected, and the findings are exhibited here.