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The paradox of global cuisine

The paradox of global cuisine

Globalism has brought us a wonderful free market, where raw materials flow from one end of the planet to the other, merchant ships transport millions of containers from all corners of the world. Today, the consumer can enjoy the convenience of the "all-encompassing" market in practically every country. We have become one connected global community, one civilization. With smartphones and the boom in online stores, the consumer has all the power in his hands, the world market is just a click away. What a power, what a privilege that soul gods have not even tasted in the past. Of course, this mindset is reflected in today's food culture and the development of global cuisine.

I myself do not yet enjoy this global luxury of being able to enjoy local, organic, whole plant nutrients at every step, because this is simply not in the eating habits of most people today and consequently not in the offer of culinary establishments. Too boring, why limit myself when the market allows me all the options. Maybe the trend is slowly turning into a vegan highly processed scene, full of aromas, completely subordinated to the mimicry of the animal industry and the use of exotic raw materials. Professional deformity simply doesn't allow me the opportunity not to observe the dietary habits of families, young groups, dear old people on vacation. Of course, I allow everyone to enjoy their chosen plate. I don't even have the right to interfere with the habits and culture of someone who was raised in this spirit already in his mother's kitchen. However, it is very difficult for me to follow the current global events, predicting all possible disasters and cataclysms, due to our rather selfish behavior. In the meantime, modern eaters, timeless consumers of the 21st century feast on oysters from Norway, octopus from Morocco, tuna from the Atlantic, shrimp from Asia, Angus beef from Brazil and maybe even a few percent of something from the local agricultural and fishing scene. As my journey took me across the global culinary spectrum from Berlin to Slovenia, from 3 Michelin to 1 Michelin, from Italian to French, from Paleolithic to Slovenian cuisine, I was disappointed again and again that culinary globalism and dietary habits dictate the offer in restaurants.

Today, the European Union is working to decarbonize society by electrifying transport and relying on renewable energy sources. However, I do not hear in any of the EU officials' plans serious strategies for agriculture and the food industry, which, according to the United Nations, are the biggest global polluters and the cause of the collapse of ecosystems, biodiversity, the disappearance of the humus layer of the earth, deforestation, the expansion of deserts, the emptying of the sea, the obesity epidemic, chronic illness. At times I get the feeling that we are already tired of all these disasters, bad news, that we are in pain for... for everything and that we would just like to enjoy these few years in peace, as long as the market is still working, as long as we can still fart with planes all over the world, we enjoy global gastronomy and the pleasures of capitalism.

While agriculture is alive, school systems are still in the grip of the law ordering the cheapest imported food, our farmers are despairing because it is precisely in this work that they should be protected and supported by the legislator. Raising children takes place both at home and at school, and let's just ask ourselves what kind of generation we are creating if we have been feeding them pâtés, fluffy white bread and daily meat therapy for the last few decades. How will the cook in the canteen convince the child to eat more vegetables if she has a frozen mix of vegetables available. More difficult.

Personally, I am a great optimist and I will always believe that humanity can do better, that we will pivot in time towards a more responsible culture, but after all the epidemics and disasters of the last two years, I am increasingly worried that our habits are changing too slowly. If we do not form common values and responsibilities as a global community to protect natural resources, algorithms and artificial intelligence will accelerate the destruction of ecosystems at an unimaginable speed. Humans are sentient beings, our internal biosphere is sensitive, so it will be difficult for us to compete with the robotic inhabitants of this planet who will adapt to all weather conditions. Today, it is necessary to create a culture for a safe transition to the age of information and algorithms. Of course, such thinking has no place for today's form of turbo capitalism, which has shaped the eater to its own specifications.

Today, restaurants are facing unimaginable damage on a global level, but even within such an unruly, destructive vortex, we can try to understand what this pandemic is telling us. The brightest example is certainly Daniel Humm, who was prompted by Covid to think that, as a representative of the best restaurant in the world, Eleven Madison Park, he must become an example to other institutions and take responsibility for the health of people and nature. From now on, they only cook "plant-based". There is still hope.

Martin Rojnik

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