In 1998, Mario Batali gutted the space that was once home to the stodgy Coach House and replaced it with the loud and brilliant Babbo. The Times later cited Babbo’s “Led Zeppelin soundtrack” as “one of the dividing lines between a restaurant with three stars, which it unequivocally deserves, and one with the highest rating of four.” That missed the point. The whole idea was to fuse fine dining and rock and roll. Anthony Bourdain’s 2000 Kitchen Confidential destroyed the archetype of the foofy French chef in a toque and replaced it with an image of cooks as young tattooed badasses. Then, in 2004, a young neurotic chef named David Chang (no relation to Diane) opened Momofuku Noodle Bar, serving what Bourdain has called the kind of food that chefs themselves like to eat after-hours—that is, simple, ingredient-driven food, often global, that is unfailingly delicious but not necessarily expensive or stuffy. Somewhere along the line, young people even began to view cooking as a form of artistic expression. The idea of eating well wasn’t just democratized. It was now, improbably enough, edgy.
“There are certain friends that you probably love getting updates from — they are witty and interesting — and that’s really what we’re trying to do with brands: Stop thinking about brands over here and people over here, but actually [think of] brands as people.”—Carolyn Everson, Facebook’s VP of global marketing solutions, at the Facebook Marketing Conference (via prweek)