The Construction of Contemporary Cuisine - A Case Study
Yamamoto, Beng See
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Cuisine as representation of culture is always changing and adapting, influenced by the core ingredients, food preparation methods, distinctive flavours and eating etiquette of a culture. As culture is never static, neither are cuisines. Today’s contemporary cuisine is distinct from historical combination cuisine in that it is proactive and constantly evolving, forming new hybrids of food which are recognised as contemporary cuisines. One form of contemporary cuisine is a deliberate blending of two or more culinary traditions to create an interesting cuisine. However, there are implications when more than one culinary tradition is combined. This research examined the construction of contemporary cuisine designed by culinary arts students from a cultural perspective. The objective was to identify the culture embedded in the composition of the constructed contemporary cuisine. A case study approach was undertaken, encompassing in-depth semi-structured interviews and a form of photo elicitation. Data were collected from ten culinary arts students who had experience in contemporising a dish relevant to their cultural background. It was found that cultural beliefs and social and environmental influences guided them in the preparation of their contemporary cuisine. Further to this, the findings suggested that conceptualising contemporary cuisine is linked to memories from the past. This study contributes to understanding how cultural identity is embedded in contemporary cuisines. Further research is recommended to include observation of participants, tasting of the contemporised cuisine for authenticity of cultural flavours and images showing ingredients and cycle of developing the contemporised dish.