There are few things more satisfying on a chilly winter’s day than a warming soup served in a chunky bowl. And what is it about drinking tea from delicate china that makes us sit up that little bit straighter?
Every day we use tableware to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, but we rarely consider the huge effect it can have on our enjoyment of the food or drink we’re about to consume.
Modern lifestyles have had an influence on the way we eat, and we’re much more casual diners than our grandparents or even our parents were. The slow but steady demise of the dining room has also played a major part in the way we serve our meals, with families and friends more likely to gather round the table in an open-plan kitchen than make time for a formal feast. ‘Social norms have relaxed so much,’ says Australian chef Bill Granger. ‘It’s ironic that in sophisticated urban environments, we’re dining more like French peasants did 300 years ago.
Plain and simple
Tables of chic eateries everywhere have increased the popularity of simple white serving ware in our kitchens (think back – it really wasn’t so long ago that a matching set of patterned plates was everyone’s table staple at home). A favourite with the majority of chefs and restaurants, a plain white plate can provide a ‘frame’ for food, transforming even the most basic beans on toast into a culinary delight, while still proving the perfect foil for more adventurous dinner party dishes.
As a result, chefs are increasingly being asked to collaborate with tableware companies when they’re developing new products – take Jamie Oliver’s collection for Royal Worcester and the new Gordon Ramsay range by Royal Doulton. For the latter, a design team visited the TV star’s restaurants to study how both chefs and customers used their plates. The resulting tableware is both glamorous and functional.