Food is the New Punk Rock

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h1You learn by burning yourself and basically screwing up.

Chef David Chang, Momofuku

The food world's old guard would have you know that haute-cuisine has for centuries resided under the purview of polite society. From the renowned kitchens of Carême and Escoffier came an undisputed mastery of craft and technique that have schooled generations of great chefs and informed the cuisine that would delight the palates of their well-heeled patrons. As for the common people, the great unwashed masses, let them fight for the nasty bits - the tendon-laced, sinewy cuts of meat, the throw-away scraps of rind.

As history has taught us time and time again, from great inequity rises great innovation. Modern-day democracy arose from the French and American revolutions. The uniquely American sounds of blues and jazz music derived from the pain, loss and injustice associated with being an African-American at the turn of the 20th century. Even the pejorative lyrics and do-it-yourself ethos of punk was a reaction to the monotonous sentimentality of 70s rock and the Western, capitalist homogeneity it epitomized.

Taking a survey of the modern-day food scene, one could make the same argument to explain what has happened in recent years to the culinary world. We've seen a shift from the old-guard's obsession with the Michelin-star to a democratized, irreverent riff on the fine-dining experience. Out are the white table-clothed bastions of fine dining. Today, it's about reclaiming what has always been at our finger tips - locally sourced ingredients, offal "peasant" fare, casual and communal dining - and turning it into a world-class dining experience.

In our Spring 2012 issue of SAY Magazine, we focus on this new generation of food lovers and how the new digital publishers are satisfying this hunger. "How We Eat Now" (p. 16) by SAY's vice president of media, Josh Jaffe, explores how online food writers and communities are reversing a generational shift sparked by an overabundance of lifeless mass-produced fast food, TV dinners and prepared foods that is sending millions of Americans back into the kitchen. We also interview Peter Meehan about his ungenteel new cooking magazine with the iconoclastic David Chang of Momofuku ("Food on the Edge," p. 21). And we check in with rock star restaurateur Heston Blumenthal of the U.K.'s Fat Duck, who has his Michelin stars but keeps it real with dormouse lollipops and bacon-and-egg ice cream. The incredible food map in the middle of the magazine helps you navigate this brave new world.

Finally, in this issue, we show you how SAY is investing in technology and tools to bring the hard work of these digital entrepreneurs to every device in beautiful ways. "The Rebirth of Content Management" gives you a look at Orion, SAY's content management system for our publishing partners - an all-new platform designed to support publications with multiple editors and dozens of contributors, and to help them merchandise that content effectively. With all the talk of new media outpacing the old, the past decade has ironically been about catching up, something we explore in our Media Lab ("Editorial Design for the Post-PC Era" p. 36). Whether you read it in print, on a notebook, on a tablet or your phone, we hope you enjoy it.