So cooking food with grown ingredients, rather than nanofabricating it (at least not directly) is/can be a thing in EP, if maybe a big ol' luxury. What might be needed to grow/acquire the top-of-the-line stuff, though? In terms of equipment, (corporate?) infrastructure and connections, and just plain big money/clout. What kinds of complications might apply to the basics of supplying cooks, restaurants and so on? Like, might providing fresh ingredients be the domain of hypercorps, analogous to how a lot of it goes today, or would there even be enough of a market to corner? If so, who could afford to be their customers?
(just brainstorming here, not necessarily looking for one canon response. just for the record)
I'm imagining the range of existing cooks may include: personal chefs who wait on people/institutions wealthy enough to basically snap their fingers and pay for the chef to acquire whatever in time for individual meals*, those working at restaurants catering to the elite, and ones going down the line from those serving a more middling population to those who can just squeak above the line of "can afford to eat something that isn't nanofabbed at home or (mercy forbid) publicly dispensed once in a while." Wherever it may lie, that is. Wondering how far the bottom line in the business of serving "real" food (pardon the biocon/chauvinist phrasing) to people can be stretched before fresh/non-fabbed ingredients aren't really affordable any more.
*Take that Consortium fat cat Charlie Boy in Melt, Sunward straight-up eating boiled pufferfish testes and letting his medichines neutralize the tetrodotoxin before it sends him into paralysis and respiratory failure (although I'm not sure whether that was in a restaurant or an apartment or what, come to think of it). I'd, uh, probably assume put stuff like that towards the more crazy-luxurious end of cooking and food; where some cook is either bringing animals back from beyond the grave with genetic samples so they can be cooked into a meal, potentially for just one guy at a time; or where they're honest-to-god serving up one of the last living animals from an earth population. (Maybe even further past the point of madness could lie stuff like, say; commissioning the design of one-of-a-kind bioengineered lifeform, born to be eaten, to achieve outrageous new heights in taste; morphs designed to have ever more refined senses of taste and smell etc; and of course the hyperelites escalating everything for the sake of it from there, as typical.)
Or maybe they just fabbed it. But that's no fun.
On a rather separate note, synthmorphs. Particularly the clanking masses. What might they have going on with food?
Given a lot of them probably don't care, or are even happy, that they don't have to pay for or worry about food, but I imagine at least some significant number must miss the tastes of food and sensations of eating (along with any number of their other old sensory inputs, but anyway). I'm wondering what kinda cool stuff could be done to address that potential desire. Getting into some foodie XP is an option, of course, (as it would be for any kind of morph,) but I imagine that couldn't satisfy everybody pining for their tongues back.
If a biobrain in a synthmorph is possible, maybe it wouldn't be too many steps removed to cobble together some kind of digestive system (hopefully a more efficient one than ours) and/or a sense of taste and smell? Or to simulate it, at least. Could be a neat avenue for research in somebody's game, maybe. That's all still thinking pretty in-the-box, though. I wonder if there could be developed some kind of more unique synthmorph analog to eating and taste and so on, some other way for them to experience the highs food can give us, and the insights it can provide into the environments we find ourselves in. Not to mention the roles it plays in culture. Maybe jiggering their optics such that a sweep of their scanners can simulate a sense akin to taste?
(I say I wonder because I'm mostly drawing a blank. Also, not much of a cook, much less an analyst of the senses.)
(Also, of course a lot of this, if not all, is referring to the inner system and its preferred kinds of economies with harder currency. The anarchists probably have their own interesting stuff going on with cooking and growing fresh nonfabbed food- a lot of them might think it's wasteful or even decadent, or something that should only be done for special occasions, but I can imagine a good number of habs also have people who at least cook for fun. Not to mention primitivists and however many individual habs make food and/or agriculture their big focus. Some angles that could be played with there.)
(Also also, I am now imagining one more token high point that might be given to the Jovians: they could well have an above-average number of damn fine cooks. If only by necessity, but y'know.)
Full disclosure: I'm in part fixating on all this to help work out a character concept: an erstwhile hyperelite top-level chef and entrepreneur, endeavoring to serve the BEST Food! made with the BEST Ingredients! to the swathes of people who're leagues away from able to afford it normally, so far as it's possible. Return the right to enjoy the love of food to all transhumanity, one customer at a time, and all that.
Would probably have their work cut out for them, I'm thinking.