Below are some random thoughts I've had recently.
Yes, this is another cop out. The post I intended to do on a surge in restaurants making sodas in house was going to require much more research than I have time for. Next week. I promise.
-What is a meal? Does a restaurant have an obligation to provide someone a meal? Is providing an "experience" enough? Are patrons to a restaurant "diners," "guests," or "customers"?
-What is the relationship between architecture and food? Beyond appearance (color, height, shape) a chef must consider function. Should buildings get away with having more aesthetic appeal than practical use? When constructing a dish, where does the balance lie between structure and how the dish will be eaten? Like ornamentation on a facade, are caramel domes, drops of sauce, pinches of this, or a paintbrush of that add anything to the overall product?
-Does the way dishes are currently served do them justice? Should restaurants/waiters try and do more to explain how a dish came to be? What spark of inspiration led a chef to combine X, Y and Z? Should the cooks do more of the serving?
-What is the relationship between the building that houses a restaurant and the restaurant itself? Whether the French Laundry in California (which resides in what used to be a French laundromat) or Eleven Madison Park in Manhattan (housed in the old Metropolitan Life Building) does a restaurant (or should it) try and reflect its setting?
-I've also been trying to figure out what kind of stand alone structure could combine food, art, architecture, sculpture, music, dance, literature, journalism, theater and the internet. I'm still working on it.
Eleven Madison Park
The French Laundry