“We have called this group of keen and accomplished male cooks, the ‘Gastrosexuals.’ They are masculine, upwardly mobile men, aged 25-44, who are passionate about cooking and the rewards that it might bring – pleasure, praise and potential seduction.”
– Paul Aikens, Marketing Director, PurAsia in the Forward of PurAsia’s report “The Emergence of the Gastrosexual”
This is one of those marketing moves that is in one sense brilliant and in another, ummm, kind of annoying.
Here’s the gist of the story as I understand it. PurAsia, a UK-based company that sells Asian ingredients, hired the research company Future Foundation to closely examine the new trend in food: men cooking. Nay, not just men. MEN. M-E-N. Picture Antonio Banderas whipping up a seafood paella… or some such food-oriented fantasy.
Yes, cooking, according to this report, has become part of “the dance.” So ladies be warned, that culinary lothario cozying up to you may want to serve up more than just a plate of pasta puttanesca.
Still not sure just who might be considered “gastrosexy?” No problem. The report outs Chef Jamie Oliver, best known for his Food Network series “The Naked Chef.” Hmm, now I know why he was naked. Also outed? Chef Gordon Ramsay. You might recognize him from the heavily bleeped Fox network series “Hell’s Kitchen.” Wonder if he talks as dirty in the bedroom as he does in his restaurant’s back room?
In general, this “report” is meant to make us titter and talk and at least occasionally, mention the company who first commissioned the research, PurAsia. It’s an interesting way to use PR. Come up with an idea that’s one part obvious, one part silly and one part sex. Then, send it out on the interweb and get people talking. I first heard about it as part of the “Hey, Get A Load Of This” story on a Chicago radio station’s newsbreak. But, it’s all over the web, including PurAsia’s gastrosexual.com. The term even has its own entry on Wikipedia (for now, “the notability of this article’s subject is in question”).
Not bad for a report that started in the UK. I mean, I’d never heard of PurAsia before. And why should I have? They’re a UK brand that just launched… But, I’ve heard of them now. Bango success.
Yet, for all the publicity they’re getting (of which I’m now a part), I do find something a little off putting about this. There’s a crassness here. The whole thing revolves around sex. And, while I find sex amusing… I mean, err, um, (cheeks turn red)… I like to sometimes pretend that I’m mature enough to be above that sort of thing. And when it’s so “tee hee hee” obvious and plays so clearly into the stuff of late night talk show monologue humor, well, that’s when I start to get more turned off than titillated, leading to apathy and even worse antipathy toward the brand.