Before I met Chef Roland, my concept of ambiance was low-level lighting. Now that I've become a little more "seasoned" to have some understanding of what the culinary experience is about, I've come to realize what an impact ambiance can have on the enjoyment of a meal. The following is a definition that I think gives a great image to the idea of ambiance: "that which surrounds or encompasses".
Have you ever anticipated going to a new restaurant or cafe, excited because your friend has raved about the experience of eating the food and the environment that was created to "backdrop" the meal? Do you remember how you felt as you approached the building where you would be eating? I know that when I'm excited about dinning where I've never been before, I feel especially sensitive to detail before I even get in the building. I'm scanning the architecture, the landscaping, the overall impression I get as I approach the building. Don't forget, first impressions have a huge impact on us psychologically!
As I enter the building, I'm aware of the smells and sounds, as well as the visuals such as artwork, lighting, plants, colors themes in the decor, furnishings and how the space is utilized. All of these factors play into preparing me for the anticipated meal.
But, there's more! As the waiter/waitress approaches, I see how they present theirself, their body language, the tone of their voice and the manner they have when they approach myself and others. The menu itself can make an impression just by it's physical appearance, as well as the table and it's presentation. So much goes into the overall eating experience, I'm sure I've left out something.
So, without going on, I think you can see, there's more than we consciously realize that can enhance or detract from the meal itself. With all that I've mentioned, I want to present you with a couple of links that I think give an even clearer understanding of just how important ambiance is when partaking of a meal.
When Roland and I met, I was one of those people who opened the box or can and warmed up the family meal. After our marriage in 2005, I truely began to appreciate what food is really about, not only that it can taste very good, and be nutritious, but that it can be a celebration of who you are and the people that you share it with.