Mono-food: a culinary phenomenon
It’s hard to get noticed in a world overflowing with culinary products. That’s why chefs are turning to the mono concept, meaning only one product, idea or ingredient. This type of creativity is more than just a signature. Pushed to the extreme, it shows off the chef’s skill and constantly challenges his ingenuity. NellyRodi Consultant Candice Alvarez explains the phenomenon.
Mono isn’t new, the pastry profession has already worked with it and made it a success. Ladurée’s macarons, Fred’s Merveilleux meringue desserts and Popelini’s cream puffs are all renowned references in their fields. But now chefs are developing increasingly refined and creative products and using powerful storytelling to make them even more desirable. The communication strategies focus more on the provenance of the raw materials and the methods used in the kitchens. The single-product idea is being explored in-depth, for example Alain Ducasse’s cookies have their own Instagram account. And some chefs take just one ingredient and create full menus around it.
Mono-products also make it possible to introduce food to other cultures. The approach is often used with Japanese food; and boutiques for bubble tea, mochi rice cakes, sando sandwiches and onigiri rice balls are all invitations to discover Japan’s gastronomy. Junk food from the United States is represented with Cupkie cookie dough and Dumbo smashburgers.
But the best example of the movement is The Social Food, two culinary experts and food photographers who create separate brands for each of their products. Naanny is for naans, Olea Pia for olive oil and Matshi for sauces. After tasting every kind of hotdog – from haute cuisine to street food – in the United States and comparing all the breads and mustards, the duo launched Poly, a corner shop serving the ultimate hotdogs. Exemplary sourcing and savoir-faire are behind everything they do, and their marketing reflects a specific brand universe for each product.
Today, the trend is to stand out from the crowd. In both food and fashion, brands are taking bold positions by using one particular ingredient or material.