There are three ways to get a meal in the 4th Century Star Era.
The most expensive way, arguably, is to go to a high-end molecular replicator restaurant. Replicators work by constructing food on the molecular level (more like the ultimate 3-d printer than like the Star Trek transporter-based replicator). This is literally molecular gastronomy – the chefs doing this kind of cooking hold degrees in biology in addition to their culinary arts training, and can precisely construct a meal to match their desired characteristics – with a degree of control that makes modern molecular gastronomy look like using a child’s chemistry set.
The middle, ranging from haute cuisine to fast food, is to have a human being make your meal for you by hand, the old-fashioned way.
And the third way, well, there are two uses for molecular replicators: One use is the high cuisine way we discussed above. The other is the way they do it on Star Trek. The food doesn’t taste nearly as good (though it’s not that bad either, it tastes about the way a 20th Century TV dinner does), but it is astonishingly cheap – all that’s needed is replicator feedstock, which is molecularly recombined before being “built” at the end terminal into the requested meal. Some home chefs have modded cheap consumer-grade replicators to act like their restaurant-quality cousins, but the trade-off is that they break down much, much faster.