I am in love with areas in which a high value on excellent food is ingrained in the culture. In my limited exposure, the only places in America that typically come to mind are Berkeley/Bay Area, CA & Portland, OR as well as a general sense about various locations around the south that center around barbeque, also Colorado for beer. Brooklyn was definitely not on my mental map.
But this article in NY Times definitely indicate that this is what’s going on. Makes me want to drop everything and go visit. But it intensifies my question, “what makes an area prone to developing de novo, a food culture?” Berkeley, Portland & Brooklyn seem to be good examples of places that did not start out with a general, and intense interest in all things artisan food, but they have developed them. What leads to that?
Thinking of those three cities, I think that some common criteria emerge:
1. nearness to local small-scale agriculture. (LA is out of the running in many ways here)
2. nearness to medium-large urban centers which provide the customers willing to spend $$. Perhaps it also provides a certain “creative class” of individuals likely to be caught up in the ideas and romance surrounding the pursuit of excellence in food.
3. accessibility of cheap living and working spaces allowing true believers in food to experiment on a small scale.(not as true of Berkeley, perhaps, now as it was when foodie movement was founded there)
4. Others? I am open to suggestions here.
Lastly, are there steps that a city/region can take to foster & incubate such a culture. Pasadena, I am coming after you!