For clarity’s sake, gourmet food can describe either an ingredient or the overall dish.
It could originally be used only when the ingredient or the meal were of the utmost quality and impeccable presentation. This is somewhat of an old definition. The globalization of taste and the development of the gourmet food market has pushed the concept further, to encompass a set of items and dishes that represent a new culture and way of life. Gourmet food is the meeting ground for the new class of people that love to be together enjoying food for its health and taste benefits. This has also spilled over to items that are not food per se, such as water and other beverages like coffee. These come to be included in list of gourmet food as long as they express a refined search for what is “the best”. As they come to represent a lifestyle, they go beyond the boundary of their product category into the realm of gourmet.