Does gourmet mean fancy?

A gourmet can describe a kind of restaurant, cuisine, food or ingredient of high quality, special presentation or high sophistication. In the United States, the gastronomic movement of the 1980s evolved from a long-term divide between elitist (or gourmet) tastes and a populist aversion to sophisticated foods. Some common synonyms for gourmet are epicure, gastronomome and gourmand. While all of these words refer to someone who enjoys eating and drinking, gourmet implies being a connoisseur of food and drink and of the demanding enjoyment of them.

In general, the term gourmet has less to do with food than with the person who is the subject of the word. The food may be prepared in a way that the chef may consider gourmet, but the person who eats it may consider the food to be of poor quality or unpleasant in taste. Some people will combine these two qualifiers, while others will say that either of them could denote gourmet food. A gourmet chef has a very high level of ability to prepare food and make good use of the best ingredients.

Gourmet foods are often found or made only in certain places, and their ingredients may be unusual, difficult to find in regular grocery stores, are only available in limited quantities, are rarely exported outside their place of origin, or are only available for short periods of the year. The use of gourmet as an advertising term can give the consumer the idea that the food will be very tasty and brimming with flavor. This is the kind of expectations that restaurants play with when they announce that their food is gourmet. Many restaurants simply use the word gourmet to tell their customers that they can expect their food to be of very high quality.

Bringing your skill to that level where what you're preparing is gourmet quality food can take a long time. The same definition holds that any food made specifically to give a pleasant flavor to the person who eats it can be considered gourmet, so a delicious cheeseburger could be defined as a gourmet cheeseburger simply because it tastes great and was designed to taste good. It is not surprising, then, that gourmet food is considered so prestigious and those who prepare it can charge exorbitant prices. A gourmet chef is an artist, not only in the way he works with the food in the pan, but also in the way he places it on the plate.

The way you dress food, cook it, slice it and decorate it helps make that food gourmet or not. Unscrupulous business owners can take the same food they offered at a low price and simply put a gourmet label on it to charge more for it.

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