Open Food was an EPSRC funded research project focused on open innovation in food manufacture. It was conducted by a multidisciplinary consortium including the Royal College of Art, Imperial College, Nottingham, Cranfield and Brunel Universities, as well as commercial partners like Premier Foods.
The Open Kitchen was a prototype interactive kitchen experience run for 2 weeks during London Design Festival 2017 at Borough Market.
The installation used 'wizard of oz' techniques to create wasn experience prototype of an open innovation space for food. People could buy ingredients from the market, and then use the kitchen to experiment. While doing so, their actions and ingredients would be captured using overhead cameras, and utensils with embedded sensors to create an open source, situated recipe repository. The content from this repository could then be played back by subsequent cooks, according to similar ingredients or techniques.
Paper cooking started with as a quick workshop for the research team, providing a tangible but simple activity that would support a discussion amongst the team about the ways we use tacit and embodied knowledge while cooking.
We then developed it into a set of low fidelity, open ended prototypes that acted as talking points for eliciting discussion with participants about embodied cooking knowledge.
This lead to a wide set of examples of embodied cooking knowledge, and helped develop ideas for the next phase of research.
Early in the project we conducted a series of cooking home tours where we asked participants to cook something that are unfamiliar enough with to need a recipe. We observed them cooking, asked them to talk through what they were doing, and asked them questions to learn more about their wider cooking experience, and related stories.
This study taught us about ways that people bring recipes and information into the kitchen, and how they negotiate between the recipe, their own knowledge and the context that they are cooking in.
The Noodle Doodle was a co-creation workshop with participants and commercial partners to prototype a process for imagining and cooking unusual noodle recipe ideas. Or partners were looking for ways to promote noodles as a dish with their customers, but felt that noodles were not seen as a versatile enough dish.
As a group we explored the everyday circumstances in which we eat, what foods we ate in those circumstances, and what characteristics made that foods suitable.
We then tried to use those characteristics to design dishes with ingredients that we might not normally associate with that situation. For example, how can we create a spaghetti bolognese dish that can be easily shared?