Presentation of HEG Research Assignment: “Culinary adventure”

As part of her HEG training, Charlotte Forest worked on the links between Travel and Food. This is what she has to say about her research:

After three years of academic training as a chef and after working in gastronomic restaurants, I wanted to discover other culinary cultures. China, India, Thailand: one whole summer I spent looking at outdoor food markets with fascination, observing street-side cooking, looking at kitchen practice in restaurants, in order to fill my head with these new flavors.

Quite naturally I chose to deal with the topic of food and travel, as part of my training at Hautes études du goût.

In this Research Assignment, I wanted to underline the fundamental role of the imaginary, both in the perception of foodstuffs and in food in general, as well as in the imaginary representation of foods. This was one of the guiding lines in my research.

To travel is to experience the extraordinary and to face the challenge of many unknowns. To taste the cooking of others is not simply to discover new flavors, it is also a matter of tasting things otherwise.

Impregnating oneself with the culture of others, in order to better understand one’s own is the positive side of culinary travel. But on the other hand, the undue and excessive value ascribed to tourism and to the globalization of food products, may raise ethical problems.

Does tourism not in practice lead to the denaturing of traditional cultures?

Globalization has of course helped overcome serious food crises, but haven’t some peoples paid too high a price?

And does not the desire to consume everything, everywhere and at all times, not take place at the expense of some animal and plant species?

Many of these are questions that remain unanswered after I wrote my research assignment, and gave me the wish to pursue my exploration along these lines.”