I have always known I wanted to do a film on food. The issue has always been what aspects concerning food I would like to hone in on and which persons I would include. My first ide
a was to look at company culture in a restaurant. Specifically back of house, I chose this path because I believe most people have a food experience and are unaware of what happens in the kitchen. Having a meal at a restaurant is quite an alienating process, in the sense that customers don’t give thought to the lives of those who are involved in creating the meal. Waiters, waitress and the like often get recognition as they are more visible, therefore creating this video would be an opportunity to expose the hidden elements of restaurant life. As splendid as the idea did seem, there were a lot of things to consider, the biggest of which would be that I’ll be filming insi
de a restaurant kitchen. This would be a concern to the establishments (but also to myself) as most kitchens are usually busy, the worry is that my presence would slow down business and thus have a knock on effect on the restaurant reputation.
Secretly! I believe this worry was one of the reasons I didn’t manage to gain access into the particular restaurant I had in mine. Of course there are many of restaurants in Canterbury. Even many more in the greater Kent area and the world!! However I was filled with fear of multiple rejections and I decided I wouldn’t have the time to deal with all of that. Instead I opted to change the direction of my project, it would still be focused on food, but this time it will be on an aspect closer to my heart. I’m still working on a name for the video but the core of it will be based on changes in cultural attitudes towards food. As a student myself, I have spent most of my university years in England, I spent a year in Denmark and I spent (non-university time) a summer in Cameroon. Through this changes I have noticed what Roy Wagner calls the invention of culture.
Invention in the sense that at every change in location, even from my Mothers house to my first university room, I invented a new food culture for myself. This invention was based on what things I knew about food, what new things I learnt about food, and finally what ingredients were available to me. Over the years new factors came into play such as the economical options or the healthier options. As a result of comi
ng into contact with different factors the food that I once knew as constant kept changing. Understanding this experience led me to wonder what food journey the people around me go through. More importantly how their family and friends related to that journey and how it all feeds back into their cultural identity. All this things and more I plan to incorporate somehow into my video. I believe such a video will educate all how elements of culture are invented and more so how invented culture does not necessarily mean inauthentic culture.