A love affair with Food. Creative Workshops Playing with Italian Cuisine & Culture
Italic Kitchen is a collective born from the encounter between myself and Giulia Bacci, two Tuscan designers who met in sunny San Diego in 2014. Driven by a shared love affair with food, design and performance, we started playing with our common Tuscan culinary roots. Italic Kitchen's emotional food workshops were co-created choreographies where food is a catalyzer for more intimate and personal relationships between human beings, creating unique experiences every time.
Our creative process began with the desire to share our Italian culinary roots in a unique and unconventional way, working on giving the power of creating the Italian food to the workshop participants. We were inspired by a couple different food design and culinary performances from Italian food designers Arabeschi di Latte and Dutch designer Marije Vogelzang, with her “eating design”.
After researching the Italian cuisine landscape in San Diego, we realized that despite the great amount of Italian Food and Restaurants in the city, very few people had really ever accessed the mysteries of pizza, gnocchi, ravioli etc. For this reason we planned workshops that gave the participants the ability to learn the traditional recipe of Italian dishes, and then were given the chance to improvise on them, making their own variations on theme of the recipes.
For each event we created a theme, with a connection to an Italian stereotype and one dish we would prepare. Workshop access was limited to 20 people and they mostly worked in groups. For each dish, we created a small competition between the groups on who would create the best variation on theme. We had DESIGN CRITERIA SHEETS against which the teams were evaluated. The winners got a small gift, a bottle of wine or a treat.
We carried out 7 food experience workshops with Italic Kitchen, each of them of the duration of around 3-5 hours.
Our first workshop was Bruschetta, and we played with Gnocchi, Mezzelune (a type of ravioli), Cantuccini, Brutti ma Buoni, Pizza. Our marketing strategy involved designing a poster for the event that we distributed via Facebook, email list and printed to hang it up in a few public spots in town. We also used WOM to get our participants and all workshops had enthusiastic participants.
The design evaluation sheets required the participants to evaluate the creations of their peers across 3 different criteria, based on multi-sensory design dimensions:
The events were very fun and a great success. They brought together an interesting mix of artists, designers, architects, engineers, scientists, all connected by a common affair with Italian food and a knack for creativity. Among the most rewarding aspects of this experiential food design lab was the empowerment experienced by the participants in being able not only to create an Italian dish, but also to twist the recipes, form factors, combinations in creative and unusual ways. Within an atmosphere of playful creativity and delicious food, conversations on design, food, culture and craftsmanship flourished, in an authentic spirit of “il dolce vivere”.