From L.V. Anderson’s review of Alison Pearlman’s Smart Casual: The Transformation of Gourmet Restaurant Style in America:
Pearlman notes that food-focused publications have increasingly covered issues related to environmentalism, labor, and politics over the last decade—but only “as problems to be solved not by collective political action but by individual shopping choices—in other words, consumption.” If consumption is virtuous, only those with the economic means to consume discriminately can have virtue. Which is how restaurant menus became infected with the elite farm brand-names and modernist amuse-bouches that proclaim how much less accessible they are than the food of the masses. The less accessible, the better.
It’s a point that doesn’t get articulated well enough, often enough, although I’m not sure I’d endorse the review as a whole.