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Research Project: Celebrating the transformative kitchen

Celebrating the transformative kitchen. 

A cooking experiment to rethink sustainability, senses, and pleasure 

Taking Karen Blixen’s famous short story “Babette’s Feast” (1950) as a starting point of reflection, the aim of the workshop was to examine the roles and definitions of pleasure in relation to environmental and social transformations. What forms does such pleasure take and how can we strengthen it through new ways of cooking and eating together? 

This project took the physical form of a cooking workshop on March 17, 2023 in “Staldkøkkenet" in “Kødbyen” in Copenhagen. The workshop brought together around 15 people engaging food topics from different perspectives. Guests were invited to cook together and experience food as a multisensorial and fully embodied experience with the potential to broaden our understanding of sustainability and community.

During the cooking session process, the event’s co-designers, Melissa Van Drie (sound and food studies; performance design), Sophie Wennerscheid (ecocriticism, literature and food studies), Takashi Saito (chef and food research) made use of aesthetic, sensorial, and scientific interventions to crack some of the food expectations and research categories most of us adhere to, permitting an alternative experience of knowledge production. 

Instead of using specialty foods from far away we worked with local but rarely used ingredients, such as Danish seaweeds.

We engaged together in various rituals of food preparation, acknowledging the affect of gestures and building respect for planetary relations. 

In addition to active participation in the cooking event, we asked the participants to reflect on expectations and experiences of the event, and to rethink sustainability, senses, and pleasure by writing a short text, providing a drawing, or whatever came to their creative mind.


This event was funded by the Center for Applied Ecological Thinking at the University of Copenhagen.   Our research together also yielded a podcast, which you can find here - "The Transformative Kitchen" on Spotify: Video by Christian Brems Audio by Rasmus Cleve Christensen – The Lake Radio


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