travel

Why do restaurants serve tasting menus?

So much food.

By Katia Hetter

Published June 12, 2018

The history of the western tasting menu

Western multicourse menus can be traced back to the 19th century and even earlier. Today, they are still a symbol of status and capital.

Lou Stejskal/Flickr

Tasting menus are surviving in large, food-obsessed American cities such as New York and San Francisco, where there are enough residents, visitors and moneymakers to support high-end meals that go on for hours.

Showing off a chef's skills

Tasting menus are often seen as the domain of wealthy patrons who can spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on three-hour meals decided exclusively by the kitchen. So why not?

For chefs, tasting menus can be an opportunity to get creative with the different dishes and show off their skills.

Jason Drakeford/CNN

Satisfying our palates with smaller plates

Humans suffer from "palate fatigue" after three or four bites, says food historian Beth Forrest. Essentially, our taste buds get bored.

Jason Drakeford/CNN