Mixologist Homaro Cantu Explains


Chairman and founder of Cantu Designs and executive chef of Moto restaurant Homaro Cantu shows how our expectations of food based upon what we know or are familiar with can be used to change texture, taste, smell and flavor and create new experiences. Great example of designing a new food experience with known ingredients but with different processes. Transmogrification (a.k.a. the process or result of changing from one appearance, state, or phase to another) is what he does.

From Pop!Tech 2006: “Part mad scientist, part artist, chef Homaro Cantu pushes the traditional limits of known taste, texture and technique in a stunning futuristic fashion. With lab partner Ben Roche, Homaro slices and dices technology to reinvent the way people eat.”

Watch his presentation at Pop!Tech 2006.

In this podcast (ITConversations), he talks about his background, restaurant and dishes.

courtesy filip borloo

What’s Your Cooking Personality?


Personas are documents describing multiple relevant aspects of a target audience. Is someone’s behaviour structured or rather chaotic. This also reflects in cooking styles. Is ‘mise en place’ obvious or not (e.g. cooking while preparing).

Now, enrich your persona descriptions with traits of people’s cooking personalities. They reveal a lot. “Cornell University researchers studied nearly 800 family cooks and determined five distinct types. So what’s your cooking personality?” – by Tara Parker-Pope (NYT)

What’s Cooking? The Evolutionary Role of Cookery


Be human, start cooking! – “Cooking is a human universal. No society is without it. No one other than a few faddists tries to survive on raw food alone. And the consumption of a cooked meal in the evening, usually in the company of family and friends, is normal in every known society. Moreover, without cooking, the human brain (which consumes 20-25% of the body’s energy) could not keep running. Dr Wrangham thus believes that cooking and humanity are coeval.” – From an article in The Econonomist on Richard Wrangham’s thesis (anthropologist – Harvard University)

Experience Design in the Kitchen

Lucia Terrenghi reflects in this position paper “Sticky, Smelly, Smoky Context: Experience Design in the Kitchen on the challenges to design, setup and evaluate a user experience in hybrid contexts, i.e. physical and digital ones, of everyday life.

It is an exploration of the introduction of digital display technology into the kitchen environment. The paper looks at the complexity of the cooking context and considers how the introduction of technology in the kitchen can affect the cooking experience.

Perception of Objects Shapes Our Appetite and Taste

How something looks has great influence on how it feels. “Look-and-feel” would many say simplistically. This applies to objects in our environment, like products, dishes, and others.

The study of Sun and Wang from Taiwan called “Analysis of Interrelations between Bottle Shape and Food Taste shows how specific atom arrangements of a bottle shapes ones taste.

An interesting relationship between tangible and intangible phenomenons. Just like an application and the user experience emerging from its use.

Food Design: Taste, Sound, Vision and Texture

From The Hindu: “(…) most people don’t even notice why the food they eat arrives looking, feeling or sounding the way it does.”

Architects Sonja Stummerer and Martin Hablesreiter are on a mission to make people really look at what is on their plates. The young authors of the German book, Food Design, won a `Special Award of the Jury’ at the Gourmand Awards last year. This year, they will be shooting a documentary on food design, as they travel across Europe.

Their documentary film is a must see.

Synthesis of elBulli Cuisine

Three quotes from the synthesis:

  • “Cooking is a language through which all the following properties may be expressed: harmony, creativity, happiness, beauty, poetry, complexity, magic, humour, provocation and culture.”
  • “The information given off by a dish is enjoyed through the senses; it is also enjoyed and interpreted by reflection.”
  • “Knowledge and/or collaboration with experts from different fields (gastronomic culture, history, industrial design, etc.,) is essential for progress in cooking. In particular collaboration with the food industry and the scientific world has brought about fundamental advances. Sharing this knowledge among cooking professionals has contributed to this evolution.”

Celebrating technology: New directions for food research in HCI

From CHI ’08: “Food is a central part of our lives. Fundamentally, we need food to survive. Socially, food is something that brings people together-individuals interact through and around it. Culturally, food practices reflect our ethnicities and nationalities. Given the importance of food in our daily lives, it is important to understand what role technology currently plays and the roles it can be imagined to play in the future. In this paper we describe the existing and potential design space for HCI in the area of human-food interaction. We present ideas for future work on designing technologies in the area of human-food interaction that celebrate the positive interactions that people have with food as they eat and prepare foods in their everyday lives.”

Download available.