Age of craft: a return to the past as we step forward into the future

CheeseMany say we live in a new technological age and that the next generation will be very different to the past, but everywhere we look we see a return to past values and a desire for old-fashioned crafts. Children in school are enjoying domestic sciences as they have not done for generations. On the high street, we are witnessing the return to strength of the butcher, of antique outlets and art shops. Food has never been more popular or accessible. Books last year enjoyed record sales. So is life really so different? Will people ever change from the creative arts that they enjoy? And does hospitality understand where it sits amid this change?

If one sets aside technological gains, the truth is that hospitality has never had it so good. It sits at the heart of daily life in a way it has never done before. People eat out on average two times a week. The consumer is more knowledgeable and expectant of food standards, which are driving up the bar. Great new hotels are being developed while the precious hotels of heritage are being revamped to meet the demands of the modern customer. Service levels are on the increase too. It may not all be perfect, but it is not too bad either.

This evolution has been driven by a number of factors:

● London and other large cities are at the centre of the changes. These cosmopolitan and vibrant capitals of the world are constantly seeing new concepts launched.

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● Travel is now open to most people and more of the world is easier to access. Knowledge and insight abounds and ‘unknown gems’ are shared more than ever before.

● As the world becomes more virtual, our heart and souls turn to what excites us most – creative arts and crafts. Talent inspires us, and often we desire the ability to have a real skill, especially when it comes to food.

● Celebrity chefs on TV programmes continue to make a huge difference. They have certainly been a factor in the rise of cafe culture, especially those with simple food of exceptional quality.

The world may be advancing in many ways, but some of the most exciting changes are the ones that are being driven naturally on an everyday basis. There has been no one behind the scenes with a strategy expecting certain results. Children today want to spend time cooking. They want to learn about food, and this bodes well. Young people have always been ambassadors for great crafts, from art to jewellery to music, but today it is all generations.

This is an exciting golden age and it is to be enjoyed. There are still those that argue the industry is not seen as a career choice, but it is perfect for those who are creative and have the craft. The industry is viewed in a positive fashion and is seen to be a great industry. It is important we take time to embrace the positive aspects of a shared community built by hard work. This is a positive time for hospitality and one that will continue, as more crafted generations continue to enter the fold.

About the author
Ben V Butler writes for eHotelier’s sister print title EP Business in Hospitality.

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