[Weekender] Just the way you like it

By Yoon Min-sik

Relatively novel concept of ‘food curation’ helps people tailor their menus

  • Published : Feb 10, 2017 - 17:27
  • Updated : Feb 10, 2017 - 20:25
Once associated exclusively with likes of the Louvre, the Smithsonian and other museums of art and science, the use of the word “curation” has expanded in its scope to include aspects of everyday life.

This includes the constant question for single-person households: What to do for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

Various food curation services here, both online and offline, are now offering a helping hand in better understanding the art of dining.

Gourmet 494, located inside the Galleria Department Store in Apgujeong, Seoul, looks like any other department store food court.

Its strength, however, is that its collection of eateries encompass the most famous and hip places from across Seoul. Instead of rummaging through the Internet to look for a place, the choice is offered in one spot.

When torn between the fusion Mexican delicacies of Vatos and Italian dishes provided by celebrity chef Chang Jin-woo in Itaewon-dong, one can have both dishes within the same venue.

“Gourmet 494 contributed to the dining culture, even popularizing the word ‘early taster’ among locals,” said a Galleria official. “We will continue to reflect the latest food trend to strengthen the status of Gourmet 494.”

The platforms for food curation vary, but the underlying idea is to allow the user access the food of his or her taste with minimal effort.

And flipping on a smartphone is effortless to modern people.

The mobile application “All About Food” provided by retailer Homeplus allows the users to punch in their preference, which it then uses to search for the dishes to his or her liking.

Gourmet 494

Sometimes it is not the decision of an expert, but the collective wisdom of the masses. App “Foodiest” allows users to upload their own recipes and recommendations in addition to recommendations of its own. The application invites users to post feedback and new opinions, while allowing them to search for recipes based on country, theme (such as for party/everyday meal/dealing with hangover), ingredient and other categorizations.

Information about food can be used to put delicious dishes on your dinner table, but foods from a specific place of origin can also be used to promote them to foreigners.

Thus is the goal of the Korea Culinary Tourism Association, founded in 2012 under the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs for the purpose of developing tourist programs that have Korean food as their main feature.

The KCTA has been operating food curator training courses for anyone interested in culinary tourism, who in this case will focus on explaining the history, origin, ingredients and other information about the traditional food to visitors.

Those who have passed the biannual state-run tests are certified to work as guides for state-run culinary tours, a consultant or developer of such tours, promoter of regional dishes or food and beverage department at local stores, or stay closer to the traditional meaning of “curator,” by working in food museums.

By Yoon Min-sik

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