I very much enjoyed giving the keynote address to the International Association of Culinary Professionals. But this was not a crowd that wanted to hear about standard errors, or indeed numbers of any sort. They wanted raw predictions and proclamations. Here is an edited sample of what I offered up:
1. Fast food will get much better, and soon.
2. Look to eat in strip malls, not shopping malls. Low rents encourage culinary experimentation and attract immigrants.
3. America’s culinary profile is defined increasingly by ethnicity and demographics, not by geographic region.
4. French cooking, for all its virtues, is stagnating.
5. The UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand are all up-and-coming culinary hotspots.
And what about investment advice?
That’s what economists are really good for, no? And no one wants to hear that you believe in the weak form of the efficient markets hypothesis.
Put on the spot, I offered the following principle. If sushi restaurants are new to a country, and are succeeding, buy shares in the stocks of that country. Raw fish, of course, can be toxic. Quality can be hard to monitor with the naked eye. Sushi consumption is a sign that people are starting to trust each other.