How Culinary Obsessions Are Changing the Way We Travel

Food has transitioned from necessity to obsession in recent years. We fill our social media streams with plate photos, suss out restaurant reviews, lust after a specific cuisine, and then travel thousands of miles or just across town to taste the most authentic version of it.

Guests for this episodeDan Amatuzzi, the general manager at Eataly, the high-end Italian food market/mall chain with the famous flagship store in the Flatiron district of NYC, and Lionel Ohayon, the founder of innovation agency Icrave.

The Skift Podcast is underwritten by FutureCities initiative from MasterCard. Find out more at futurecities.skift.com.

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Travelers, in a sense, want to be overwhelmed by their culinary experiences, to be certain that their perception of a meal lives up to everything they’ve heard or seen or imagined about it. An almost insecurity that we might miss out on *the* dish of a trip drives our most basic decisions about how to plan our day and where and what we’ll do.

What is behind this almost manic desire for a unique dining experience? Why are travelers as concerned with where their dinner’s ingredients are sourced as which hotel room they’ll stay in? And how do cities large and small create experiences that exceed travelers’ expectations and ensure that their meals are an integral part of their travel experience?

To discuss the evolution of travelers’ culinary expectations, podcast host and Skift reporter Samantha Shankman and Skift co-founder and Head of Content Jason Clampet sat down with Dan Amatuzzi, the general manager at Eataly, the high-end Italian food market/mall chain with the famous flagship store in the Flatiron district of NYC, and Lionel Ohayon, the founder of innovation agency Icrave.

Icrave recently led the design of new French market Le District in downtown Manhattan.

Eataly and Le District are a simple and yet innovative response to this almost manic desire for great, locally sourced, culturally-driven dining experiences. Our discussion begins with a look at Eataly, whose many Italian eateries and markets is a favorite among New Yorkers and visitors alike, and Le District, which has often been referred to as a French version of its predecessor. Each are spaces that offer something for every consumers’ palate while simultaneously engaging their senses with a slight sense of chaos. They create a strong sense of place and leave the happy diner feeling like they’ve had an experience as much as a meal.

We discuss the power of food to set the scene and cement memories that travelers so desperately seek, how visual media perpetuates our expectations of culinary experiences, and how airports, cities and restaurants will evolve to keep pace with their customers’ appetites.

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