Bespoke food

June 25, 2008

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As methodical and thorough as I am in my research, the truth is, I sometimes stumble across emerging trends in a haphazard way. Such is the case with my discovery that the word ‘bespoke’ is now being used as a food word.

Fashionistas reading this post will know that ‘bespoke’ is a word used in the garment trade to describe truly custom made clothes. Think Saville Row style tailoring where suits and shirts are not just made to measure but created from original patterns drawn especially to suit the purchaser’s physique.

When applied to food, bespoke means that you’re ordering off the menu. It describes food that is made just for you. The way I see it, bespoke describes the already well-developed concept of customization that has made Starbucks and Craft successful foodservice endeavours.

My first tweak that bespoke was being used in reference to food came when I was visiting Summer Fresh Salads to discuss the Mezze trend that is, like bespoke, hot in London. Company president Susan Niczowski brought bespoke food to my attention. Later that week, I noticed this term being used by President’s Choice in an ad promoting Father’s Day burgers. Their concept was that each dad is unique and deserves a signature burger all his own.

So, now if you see bespoke on a menu or in advertising copy, you won’t have to crinkle your forehead in confusion. It just means that you can have it your way…. wait, didn’t Burger King say that same thing in plainer terms 25 years ago? I guess everything old truly is new again.