Kitchen Too Hot for Gourmet

Buh, buh, Gourmet! Au revoir, old friend. Now: Who killed you? Was it the Interwebs? Or was it something (someone) more nefarious? According to The New York Times, the culprit was none other than Rachel Ray, that perky cookbot out to destroy the world.

Of course, they would say that. Condé Nast's 68-year oldrevue des chefs represented all that is fine about fine dining, sophistication, and urbane pleasures referenced a time where tastemakers voiced opinion from lofty heights to the peasants below. Wake up and smell the garlic! The plate's being wiped clean on that model.

Gourmet's departure marks a major shift in consumer perceptions of cooking.

The democratization of being a "foodie" is reaching further down, well, the food chain. The concept of a "basic" kitchen now ideally includes commercial level stoves and wine refrigerators. Even apartment dwellers who cannot boil water are expected to want deluxe granite counter tops, or at the very least, an unused kitchen that takes up a significant square footage footprint.

No doubt, everything from kitchens to cooking is hot right now. Store brands are thriving during the recession in part because generic label food brands are starting to innovate. No longer is the average consumer willing to consume average fare. Their tastes are being shaped by peers faster than you can change a tablecloth.

Three powerful technology trends make this possible.