It’s Not the Best Time for ‘Curated,’ ‘Composed,’ or ‘Artisanal’ Food

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Perhaps too composed? Photo: Roxanne Behr/New York Magazine

Sounds like the backlash is starting: Words like "composed," "curated," and "artisanal" have seemingly slipped into the Big No-No end of the zeitgeist pool. When Steve's Craft Ice Cream founder David Stein said last week that the shop would have a team of chefs making "curated and composed" sundaes, a bit of skepticism settled into the comments section here. "No thanks," wrote kfocus. "Curate your way away from my coffee with oreos and over to where you belong making complex stocks and expensive layered pastries." And on Twitter, Gilt Taste features editor Francis Lam also wrote "Sorry, but I think they've finally killed the word "curated." When your ice cream toppings are "curated," that word is dead dead dead."

In other buzzword death knell news, The Local East Village analyzes fallout over an announcement that the homey live music bar Banjo Jim's may soon be replaced with an "artisanal neighborhood cocktail bar." In addition to some concise and predictable comments, that pesky A-word raises a red flag for bloggers Jeremiah Moss and Bowery Boogie, with the latter writing of the not-yet-closed bar: "Missing banjo jim's already. artisinal [sic] is one of those buzz words that makes me puke every time." Meanwhile, current Banjo Jim's owner Lisa Zwier-Croce tells The Local, “People are freaking out about ‘artisanal’ cocktails. Don’t be afraid of a word!”

Per some other comments out there, "sourced" has apparently also been placed on notice.

And as for the case against "composed," well, perhaps the recently shuttered Compose in Tribeca, (which will reopen as Atera in September with a new chef), had a bad name choice as much as any other flaws. And sure, with all this buzzword hate, correlation does not imply causation, but consider the great 2010 bumper crop of restaurants with "market"-related names. Three of them have now closed.

So, are you over the whole farm-to-table schtick? As one chef told Grub Street a few days ago, the ethos is so pervasive these days that it'd make more sense for restaurants to let customers know when their ingredients don't come from some tiny farm upstate.

But more to the point: What are the next soon-to-be overused food and restaurant words?

Debating an ‘Artisanal’ Vision for a Bar [The Local East Village]
Earlier: Steve’s Craft Ice Cream Will Be ‘Curated and Composed’
Sam Sifton Would Like You to Stop Talking About Where You ‘Source’ Your Ingredients, Please