Does Artisan Mean Anything Anymore?

June 2, 2012 in Daily Bulletin, Signature

Hugh Merwin took a look at the recent history of the word ‘artisan’ to conclude that it has become meaningless. Highlights include:

  • In the 16th century the term ‘artisan’ wasn’t a compliment. It meant that you did your job and weren’t of much importance. Over time it evolved though.
  • In 2001 the New York Times awarded a restaurant called Artisanal two stars. This was the beginning of the end.
  • In 2006 Quizno’s and Wendy’s became the first fast-food restaurants to co-opt the term ‘artisan’ to describe their breads in an attempt to compete with Subway.
  • In 2007 Starbucks became the biggest chain to use the term to describe their chocolates and then their breakfast.
  • The term ‘artisan’ was formally declared dead by Merwin, in 2011, when Burger King used the term to describe its Chef’s Choice Burger. Burger King was using a term that royalty would originally scoff upon.

To read more about the timeline of the word, the role that Dominos and Panera played in its demise, what artisan tortilla chips taste like, the person who warned of the looming problem, and what Benjamin Franklin had to say about artisans, click here.

Source: New York Magazine

Via: Newmark’s Door