That does it. I have finally come to terms with the fact that I am just a peasant. I always knew there was something wrong with me. Faced with a stunningly constructed, top-quality, chef-produced restaurant meal, I have been consistently underwhelmed. Oh, sure, each bite is a sensory explosion and one is certainly impressed by the artistry required to create the plated dish. But it just does not one thing for me. Not. One. Thing. Give me a dripping porchetta sandwich served on a street corner; let me eat a bowl of flavourful ramen topped with freshly grated garlic and ground sesame seeds; leave me alone with a plate of olives, some feta cheese and ripe tomatoes; grill me a fish that was pulled from the ocean ten feet from where I'm sitting - and I'm in heaven. Heaven. I will remember that food for the rest of my life. But the fancy shmancy restaurant food, never mind the cost or quality, leaves me cold and bored.
As a food professional, I feel that I have somehow missed the boat. Shouldn't I be able to appreciate this other level of cooking? I've just returned from a trip to Japan where I ate from one end of the culinary spectrum to the other and, frankly, the only food I remember with any degree of passion was the stuff I ate on the street, in the fish market or from a bento box on the train. I am both relieved by this and depressed. Anyone else have this experience?