Conference Agenda

RN05_05c: Food and taste
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Lotte Holm, University of Copenhagen
Location: BS.G.36
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Business School, Ground Floor Oxford Road


Brazilian Chefs And Their Aesthetic Work: Mixing Popular Food And Global Patterns Of Taste

Mauricio Piatti Lages

University of São Paulo, Brazil

Some recent transformations have highlighted the figure of the culinary chef as a ‘symbolic producer’ and no longer as a mere executant of traditional culinary techniques. This means that the cook now has also a largely conceptual role, acting directly in the circulation signs, images and tastes, which are culturally specific but at the same time rely on global aesthetic protocols. The intent of this presentation is to analyze the cultural tensions at play in the work of chefs from São Paulo, Brazil, based on the material collected in semi-structured interviews with chefs and local journalists. Many contemporary chefs are turning to the repertoire of “popular food” as the source of inspiration for their culinary creations and artistic dispositions, revealing a structural tension between innovation and tradition. Just like other so-called global cities, the city of São Paulo has been constructed and perceived as a privileged stage of dispute for the new symbolic and material meanings of food, and that is the context in which I will analyze the work of these chefs.

Emerging Patterns Of Food Taste In A Cross-Cultural Perspective: Some European Countries Under The Scrutiny Of TASC Survey.

Maria Giovanna Onorati1, Francesco Domenico d'Ovidio2

1University of Gastronomic Sciences in Pollenzo, Italy; 2University of Bari "Aldo Moro" , Italy

Food taste and habitus are undergoing an epochal change owing to the increasing human mobility (Sheller – Urry, 2005) and the proliferation of key sites production of new consumption styles and priorities. Digital activism has found a new ally in food (Johnston - Baumann, 2010; Reilly, 2006; Onorati - Giardullo, 2018), as has been shown by boosting recommendations in social media about food safety (Dillaway et alii, 2011), healthy eating (Schaefer et alii, 2016), food supply chains (EIP-AGRI, 2016), iconic cuisines (Everett, 2015), and gastro-tourism (Guzel - Apaydin, 2016). Regulations on the traceability of origin as a quality benchmark (Grunert - Aachmann, 2016) and the 2030 UN Agenda claim a global commitment with respective transparency and sustainable consumption. What are, then, the new determinants of food taste? Are these factors shaping a multidimensional “gastronomic” capital – comparable to the “culinary capital" devised by LeBesco & Naccarato (2013) – that works as a driver of new and discerning forms of consumption?

The paper presents the first findings of a pilot survey called “TASC – Taste As a Social Construction” conducted on more than 500 people living in different European countries. The survey starts from the above research questions and aims at identifying the factors correlated with food preferences and measuring their performance in the main fields of practice in which taste is shaped. TASC accounts for old and new capitals by connecting the sociocultural characteristics that underpin eating practices, with media practices, foodstyles, and values (Schwarz, 2006), so as to outline accessibility, affordability, and priorities in food consumption. The Theory of Planned Behaviour (Ajzen, 2001) was used to check the influence of both subjective and collective sociocultural factors on consumption.

Unpacking omnivorousness: locating the British ‘foodie’

Jessica Paddock1, Alan Warde2, Jennifer Whillans1

1University of Bristol; 2University of Manchester, UK

For the last decade or so, the British foodscape has seen notable rise in the volume of cookery programmes, books, blogs, social media space dedicated to food. This offers an example of one of the multiple sites from which social actors across social cleavages derive pleasure from both convivial and solo eating events. Those who fervently seek out and are excited by the most authentic, exotic, and refined food experiences are what Johnston and Baumann (2010) - based upon their research conducted in a North American context - have called ‘foodies’. Yet, in a British context, the term carries many different manifestations, protests of denial and accusations of snobbery. Theories of omnivorousness further complicates the relationship between broad engagement in culinary practices, and reproduction of class distinction. Drawing upon 31 qualitative interviews conducted in London, Preston, and Bristol (UK) as part of the project ‘Revisiting Eating Out 1995-2015’, we explore the meaning of the term ‘foodie’. We ask ourselves, and indeed, we asked our interviewees: what is a foodie? Can foodies be detected among our sample, and if so, what are their characteristics? Finally, we consider whether there is merit in adopting the term foodie to describe the practice of our most distinctive of diners and reflect upon the politics of cultural difference at play in this field, and its implications for creating alternative forms of provisioning the goods and services that make main meals in Britain.

Taste, The Senses, And Cultural Openness. An Empirical Exploration Of The Role Of Embodied Affect In Multicultural Consumption Experiences.

Cristiano Smaniotto

University of Southern Denmark, Denmark

This paper addresses the embodied, sensual practices and evaluations which mediate relationships to cultural differences in pluralistic societies. A dominant strand of research on openness revolves around its abstract expressions in relation to boundary-drawing practices and also preferences for types of cultural goods. Yet, individual everyday encounters with the cultural Other in physical social spaces are often experienced through the body and its senses. This sensual dimension of cosmopolitan encounters remains understudied. The present article explores the role of the body and senses in shaping these encounters, and ultimately in forming boundaries which are essential mechanisms of social inclusion. Through a qualitative analysis of in-depth interview and focus group data drawn from a larger study concerning individual experiences of cultural difference in consumption practices (e.g., eating, travelling), we analyse expressions of cultural openness mediated through the work of the senses. Our informants express this openness in relation to the (dis)comfort provoked by bodily, sensory reactions to specific consumption practices (e.g., eating strongly-flavoured food). This sensual experience offers a basis for people’s framing of cultural difference – either reinforcing or weakening the boundaries between the individual and the cultural Other – and translates into taste evaluations. We find that taste as embodied practice mediates between the aesthetic surface and texture of things and the cosmopolitan imaginary of individuals. However, bodily (dis)comfort is not a direct indication of cultural openness. Conversely, it is in the acceptance of and openness to discomfort that we see multicultural consumption experiences becoming cosmopolitan performances.