20 years of Observer Food Monthly: 20 key moments in food

1 The rise and fall of celebrity chefs By the time OFM was launched in April 2001, Gordon, Heston, Hugh, Jamie and others were already on the road. These were decades of reality TV so we not only watched them, we had an unwavering interest in their lives. No one knows what Delia Smith did when the cameras were turned off. Keith Floyd did not invite us to his beautiful house, but the chefs we now know by name were full of all the tabloids and new gossip magazines. Confused Delia Smith put it well when, in 2008, she said of Gordon Ramsay: “That’s not teaching. I love her when she makes her own recipes, but I’m not serious about her swearing. ” You can edit their trajectories on the graph. Ramsay was the first, rising higher and more fierce. He left the UK for the US where he is now one of its richest TV stars and has recently returned to UK screens presenting a non-food show. He did very well financially but somehow separated himself from food even though he still had a lot of restaurants. Some arcs are low, perhaps long lasting, but now they are turning down. It is unlikely that we will ever see their species again. 2 From bloggers to influencers In 2002, Julie Powell started the “Julie and Julia Project” where she wrote her efforts to cook the whole recipe in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking on the new Blogger platform. Three years later he produced the best-selling book and in 2009 a film starring Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci. Another game-changing platform, Twitter, was launched in 2006 and quickly gained popularity especially with food journalists and the restaurant industry. After Instagram came four years later, the “organized” meal became an integral part of the menu with photos of dinner dinners and recent criticism of democracy. The food media is facing a serious crisis. Today, having a large online audience or being “influential” is a hallmark of celebrities who sit on the sidelines and who are increasingly associated with being a successful chef, TV star or restaurateur. Clearly, traditional fame has its uses. One of the biggest foods facing this year’s most powerful social forum, TikTok, is Gordon Ramsay. Ella Mills Ella Mills, leader of the first UK influencer wave Photo: Amelia Troubridge / The Observer 3 Noma, food processing and the new Nordic Advertisement Chef maverick René Redzepi opened Noma in Copenhagen in 2003. Although it has never won three Microsoft stars, in 2010 it was named the best restaurant in the world – considered by many to be the first and most important place in Michelin hegemony. Redzepi’s cooking was considered a “new Nordic” vanguard, focusing on traditional regional ingredients and a combination of flavors, supporting the “molecular” process with a bright hand. Redzepi also led chefs, in addition to analogy, to “go to the forest”. His interest in the search for food sparked a global trend of unknown ingredients without human intervention. 4 MasterChef and food as easy entertainment John Torode and Gregg Wallace were introduced to MasterChef in 2005 to make the system more accessible and less focused, their breath-taking presentation that helps to arouse excitement and danger, which is amazing. Other competitive food shows are followed by the launch of the British Great Menu in 2006 and 2008 by MasterChef: the Professionals, both popular exhibitions of working chefs. These programs required a certain style of cooking that could be discussed at length and had something dangerous. They soon covered the cold and performed ossified gastronomy of the British province, confining us to an endless exhibition of food, smears and local ingredients that showed “three ways”. 5 New disorder In 20 years the food outdoors, for the most part, has shifted from conventional to modern, and perhaps as a result, the places we choose have become less organized. Napery, uniformed staff, dress codes and good manners of our parents’ generation have evolved into a glorious finger-eating atmosphere, sitting at tables, no bookings and lessons that come with any proper kitchen order. All too often it has been a great improvement. Perhaps the only thing below would be, for customers, an endless line of non-booking seats and, for restaurants, no shows where customers book several places at once and offer one at the last minute. 6 From school meals to the little chef: TV activists Jamie Oliver and children from Motherfield Primary School Jamie Oliver and children from Motherfield Primary School Photograph: Levon Biss / The Observer Advertisement Jamie Oliver’s attempt to improve school meals in 2005 by removing Turkish turkey and endless chips met with much-publicized opposition from other children and parents. Yet it has launched a trend of TV-driven food activism that has skyrocketed in the late 00s. It had been a few months, when Heston prepared a meal for Little Chef and Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, a loyal, well-fed fish or chicken, when it seemed that no politician or food producer could avoid the door by an angry TV chef. Oliver, who sought prominence over time, went to school in general, with Jamie’s Dream School in 2011. 7 Booking and delivery Toptable – launched in 2000 – was the first booking engine in the UK. In 2010 it was bought by US company OpenTable for $ 55m. For many customers it was just a simple plan, but behind it was a complete booking system where restaurants enthusiastically received, passed on the responsibility of answering calls and booking. Apps quickly became the main way in which restaurants were booked and today they want to know where you are, create a list of things you like or dislike and recommend restaurants in a way that cuts the restaurant out. In 2013 Deliveroo was launched in the UK, with a change that was considered leading to competitors such as Uber


Food giants respond to worries over packaging

When Rebecca Prince-Ruiz remembers how her warm movement for Plastic Free July improved over the years, she simply smiles. What started in 2011 40 people pledging not to put plastic in one month a year has improved dramatically as 326 million people have promised to do the same today. Since 2000, the plastics industry has […]