Cooking Memories

A strand of Open Food is looking into creative cooking from non-professionals and how this could be better supported and shared. We think of creative cooking as an exploratory, people-lead, learning culinary activity that goes beyond utilitarian needs. We have initiated the idea of the “Open Kitchen”, the equivalent of a makerspace for cooking: A place equipped with tools, ingredients, access to a market, chef and peers to facilitate creativity. During the summer and autumn 2017 we teamed-up with the world-known Borough Market to run and test the Open Kitchen concept. After initial ethnography, we are currently undertaking design work to respond to the phenomena we observed. Specifically, we are exploring how physical and digital tools could support some of the creative behaviors that emerged.

I am particularly interested in “the recipe” and what this could be, beyond a static, cognitive list of instructions. An initial prototype saw the recipe as in-situ projections of the creations of past participants based on cooking tools. When a participant picks up a tool (e.g. a knife, spatula or pepper grinder), a video is triggered that plays back clips of previous actions and uses of that tool. Thus, people were prompted to explore the kitchen both physically and digitally, and perhaps find inspiration in doing so. 

The Open Kitchen was presented in BBC Click as part of RCA’s presence at the Borough Market during London Design Festival 2017.