“I Am Not a Foodie…”: Culinary Capital in Online Reviews of Michelin Restaurants

Camilla Vásquez*, Alice Chik

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    14 Citations (Scopus)


    This article adds to the growing literature on foodie discourse, by providing an analysis of amateur reviews of one-star Michelin restaurants sampled from two different websites, OpenRice and Yelp, which reflect two different geocultural contexts: Hong Kong and New York City. We demonstrate that online restaurant reviews provide a means through which individuals can display their culinary capital—to an audience who is likely to share similar interests—as they establish their expertise on matters such as authenticity, taste, quality, and the perceived value of their dining experiences. Furthermore, we explore how issues of social class and access to economic capital are implicated in user-generated reviews of this category of restaurants. By asserting their right to participate in a larger conversation about Michelin standards, online reviewers place themselves on equal footing with culinary elites and professional food reviewers. Consequently, we argue that new media genres such as online reviews challenge well-established hierarchies in food culture, yet at the same time, they also reproduce some existing forms of culinary capital.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)231-250
    Number of pages20
    JournalFood and Foodways
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2015


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