Nowhere in the world of fine dining is there a place for fast food, cafe, or a drive-in style eating establishment. A gourmet meal should consist of at least three distinct and separate courses, served elegantly and with due consideration towards pleasing the palate of dinner guests. Simply ordering from a menu on the wall, then having to retrieve your own food, then to eat at a picnic style table or take it home to eat are not even considered here. The art of gourmet dining includes dressing for the occasion and bringing your best table manners along. It's easy to compare the many differenting styles of cooking as well as the type of service provided yet each constituates good food and the opportunity to let someone else cook for you, then wash up after, so it's usually well worth the price.
Serving style varies around the world
When you dine Mongolian style, such as in a Mongolian barbecue style restaurant, generally the customer selects their own foods from a buffet style table then hands that bowl over to the cook. The cook then stir fries that food, using a large flat top grill, then returns the food, now plated, back to the customer at their chosen table. In France you may dine in what is called a brasserie. The French inspired menu generally consist of comfort foods like fish dishes that have that distinctly French flavor and cooked to perfection by well-trained chefs. Food is moderately priced and service may well be your own. A bistro by comparison, will have a more refined décor with higher prices and more professional service. American style dining varies from true gourmet restaurants with seven course meals to a McDonald's Big Mac with fries. With so much to choose from, it is no wonder obesity is a worldwide problem (as is hunger).
What does "gourmet" actually mean?
One who truly appreciates fine food of gourmet quality dining is called a gourmand or simply a gourmet. Having a discerning palate, someone who has had much experience trying food from a wide variety of sources enabling them to have an opinion on foods that may be respected by others. Gourmet food is considered to be on the finer and more refined menus around the globe. It may include such highly regarded (and expensive) items as rare mushrooms known as truffles, prime cuts of beef, sauces and gravies that have been refined and slow cooked to reduce them down to the finest and deepest flavors, and exotic vegetables which have have grown organically. Extensive use of both white and red wines is a vital part of many gourmet dishes and may be involved in the creation of such fine dishes as Amaretto Tiramisu, Sautéed Beef with Rosemary & White Wine, Prime Rib Roast of Beef with Au Jus, and Hibiscus Marinated Leg of Lamb. Of course these recipes and many more can be found on the Internet or in gourmet cook books. But just having the recipe means little unless the cook is a trained chef; someone who knows the intricacies involved as well as the chemistry that makes a truly fine meal fit to be labeled a gourmet meal.