Upcoming workshop: Understanding and fostering creativity in the kitchen

Dr Anita Eves, Dr Paul Sowden and Professor Monique Raats have secured funding from the Institute of Advanced Studies for a workshop on “Understanding and Fostering Creativity in the Kitchen,” to be held on 7-8 July 2014.

Analysis of creativity and innovation in restaurants is a recent idea. Little is known about this area as yet. For example, why are some chefs creative? Where do they get their creativity or inspiration from? What are the barriers to innovation? This workshop aims to move understanding and research forward toward addressing these and related questions.

Creative chefs are able to create new food forms or sensory experiences, using a blend of personal predisposition, knowledge acquired through training and repetitive practice, knowledge of rules that are integrated and internalised, and knowledge acquired through reflective practice. The culinary creative process involves idea work, creative teamwork and naming, with idea work the domain of the head chef, taking inspiration from, e.g., art, nature and science, much the same as other artists. If these processes could be unlocked and developed in others, including children, it could promote success in restaurant businesses and also enable consumers to make optimal food choices, improving health and reducing waste through more creative use of food in the home or by being offered creative, healthy options in restaurants. In addition, food related creative behaviours may have additional benefits for everyday creative thinking skills.

Food can be creative in many ways (photo credit Chef Shigeki, Flickr.com, licensed for reuse)

This two day event is funded by the Institute of Advanced  Studies and is a joint venture between the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, ILLUME, The Faculty Creativity Research Centre,  and the Food, Consumer Behaviour and Health Research Centre.

The event will take place on the campus of the University of Surrey. The programme will comprise three half-day sessions, one focussing on creativity, one on creativity in the restaurant sector and one linked to facilitating creativity in the context of food. The sessions will include a mix of keynote speakers (confirmed keynotes: Ronald Beghetto – University of Oregon; Marc Stierand – Lausanne Hotel School; Simone Ritter – Radboud University, Netherlands. James Kaufman – University of Connecticut), open presentations and workshop sessions.

The call for participation will be coming out soon.