The Delgado Collective: An Examination of Fine Dining in McAllen, Texas




Jardon, Cristina

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Social class shapes the types of foods people can access, as well as their food preferences and tastes. Food consumption, as a form of cultural capital, also plays a critical role in how individuals present their social class to others. Within the study of gourmet food culture, scholars have considered whether and/or how consumption has “democratized,” or in other words, shifted from “snobbish” exclusivity and an emphasis on highbrow cuisine to potentially greater inclusivity with an emphasis on “omnivorousness,” or in other words, the inclusion of highbrow and lowbrow food preferences. Despite these shifts toward omnivorousness, many scholars argue that social class distinction continues to occur. In this study, I examine how fine dining is produced and consumed in McAllen, Texas, a unique location for considering these discussions. I conducted a qualitative content analysis on three different restaurants from the Delgado Collective, analyzing their websites, menus, and Yelp reviews. Findings revealed three main ideas: (1) the producer’s emphasis on democratizing fine dining and how it was rejected by consumers, (2) the producer’s emphasis on authenticity and its conflicts with consumer values, and (3) the value of exoticism of food by the producer, which left consumers at a disadvantage.



fine dining, McAllen, Texas, omnivorousness, democracy of food


Jardon, C. M. (2023). The Delgado Collective: An examination of fine dining in McAllen, Texas (Unpublished thesis). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


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