Accepted abstract - Creative Tastebuds Symposium

Participatory Research through (Gastronomy) Design: a method for extending play in gastronomy      

By Danielle Wilde & Ferran Altarriba Bertran, University of Southern Denmark & University of California Santa Cruz

Participation takes many forms in the preparation and eating of food, yet is not widely explored in the context of gastronomy. Play holds a strong place in gastronomy, yet has unexplored potential. To investigate this potential we conducted a participatory research study that explored four opportunities to extend play in gastronomy: (1) eliciting play beyond surprise and make-believe; (2) facilitating socialization through emergent forms of play; (3) using common eating rituals as inspiration for gastronomy; and (4) using play to enhance degustation. Our method: participatory Research through (Gastronomy) Design, was elaborated through a series of dinners designed with and for experts, enthusiasts and novices. Its broader applicability was tested through a workshop with student chefs and game designers. Our findings demonstrate that participatory Research through (Gastronomy) Design affords the design of playful gastronomic experiences. Its use aids reflection on abstract dilemmas related to the gastronomic experience; exploration of play’s impact on social dynamics; and—when directed at specific questions—it informs concrete design choices. Playful gastronomy design that responds to diners’ needs and desires, beyond a chefs’ personal understanding of play, is currently lacking. We posit participatory Research through (Gastronomy) Design as an exciting new approach to address this gap.