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Disrupting Taste

To paraphrase a 2006 HSBC advert, likely to have been displayed at an international airport near you: sushi is tasty and hot dogs nasty – and vice versa. It’s all too pertinent to see this advert on the air bridge as you step aboard a Boeing 777 that will whisk you across the globe, potentially crossing a vast gastronomic divide. This somewhat simplistic message from the self proclaimed “world’s local bank” may extol the virtues of understanding the subtleties of cultural differences, but it throws up a more interesting question: is the notion of “good taste” universal, or is it something that is acquired through cultural circumstance?

The former suggests an objective standard, whereas the latter is a subjective opinion that may have been largely determined through breeding. A problem arises when one considers what this notion has become in the Millennial context: for example, TripAdvisor makes recommendations through subjective critical mass opinion, while Michelin purports to an objective quality benchmarking that is rigorously applied. However, the two co-exist within a ecosystem that has become murky and muddied through manipulation to such an extent that real meaning has been obfuscated by other motivations, commercial or otherwise.

So the time is ripe for disruption: to agitate the prevailing ecosystem by reassessing taste aggregation through technology on one hand, whilst challenging the established sacred cows of the global arbiters of gastronomic taste on the other. For the TripAdvisor generation, it is all about what they ‘like’ rather than what is ‘good’, even if it is not to their taste; for the Michelin inspectors, it is all about hallowed standards and reputations to uphold. To disrupt this status quo, a new civilisation needs to emerge, with both enlightened oracles and empowered citizens, but working in unison to create a credible, anthropological whole.

This is Disrupting Taste.