Foodie is an informal term for a particular class of aficionado of food and drink. The word was coined in 1981 by Paul Levy andAnn Barr, who used it in the title of their 1984 book The Official Foodie Handbook.
Although the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, foodies differ from gourmets in that gourmets are epicures of refined taste who may or may not be professionals in the food industry, whereas
foodies are amateurs who simply love food for consumption, study, preparation, and news.
Gourmets simply want to eat the best food, whereas
foodies want to learn everything about food, both the best and the ordinary, and about the science, industry, and personalities surrounding food.
For this reason, foodies are sometimes viewed as obsessively interested in all things culinary. There is also a general feeling in the culinary industry that the term gourmet is outdated.
Typical foodie interests and activities include the food industry, wineries and wine tasting, food science, following restaurant openings and closings, food distribution, food fads, health and nutrition, and restaurant management. A foodie might develop a particular interest in a specific item, such as the best egg cream or burrito. Many publications have food columns that cater to foodies.
Interest by foodies in the 1980s and 1990s gave rise to the Food Network and other specialized foodprogramming, popular films and television shows about food such as Top Chef and Iron Chef, a renaissance in specialized cookbooks, specialized periodicals such as Gourmet Magazineand Cook’s Illustrated, growing popularity of farmers’ markets, food-oriented websites like Zagat’s and Yelp, publishing and reading food blogs (a number of people photograph and post on the Internet every meal they ever make or consume), specialized kitchenware stores like Williams-Sonoma and Sur La Table, and the institution of the celebrity chef.