University of Surrey Institute of Advanced Studies

University of Surrey


Understanding and Fostering Creativity in the Kitchen

7 July 2014 - 8 July 2014



Creativity is a critical prerequisite to innovation, which in turn is a major contributor to organisational success and survival. To date, analysis of creativity and innovation in culinary practice has been limited, with identified research gaps relating to drivers, barriers, sources and diffusion of innovation. Further, as an everyday activity, understanding creative culinary practices has the potential to promote creative thinking more generally. Creative chefs are able to create new dishes and food-related experiences using a blend of personal predisposition, knowledge and reflective practice. However, chefs struggle to describe what is happening in their minds during the creative process. If we could unlock the chef’s creative processes and develop them in others it could promote success in restaurant businesses, enable the general public to make optimal food choices and may benefit flexible thinking processes and creativity more generally.


This workshop explores creativity in culinary practice, aiming to develop new research agendas and establish a network of researchers in this important field.


The workshop will cover:

  • Understanding creativity
  • Creativity in culinary practice
  • Fostering creativity in chefs and the general public


Sessions will comprise keynote presentations, oral presentations from selected researchers, practical sessions exploring creativity and time for discussion.


Confirmed keynote speakers:

James Kauffman – University of Connecticut

Ron Beghetto – University of Oregon / Connecticut

Mark Stierand – Laussane Hotel School

Nuria May Masnou – El Bulli Foundation (who will run a practical workshop)


The number of participants in the workshop is limited, so early registration is advised. The attendance fee (£125 Full registration; £75 Students) has been minimised such that the fee should not be an obstacle to attendance. The registration fee includes workshop materials and refreshments and lunch on both days. 


Main organiser: Dr Anita Eves, Hospitality and Food Management, University of Surrey

Co-organisers: Prof Monique Raats (Food, Consumer Behaviour and Health Research Centre) and Dr Paul Sowden, Director of ILLUME: The Faculty Centre for Creativity, University of Surrey

Contact: Dr Anita Eves (


The workshop is a collaboration between the University of Surrey’s multidisciplinary Food, Consumer Behaviour and Health Research Centre (FCBH) and the University’s newly established ILLUME multi-disciplinary creativity research centre. ILLUME’s mission is to explore, understand and develop the creative process, with the aim of developing cutting edge, evidence-based approaches to facilitate creative thinking, including in schools and businesses. The FCBH undertakes studies of influences on food choice, including for instance, labelling, policy and education. It aims to provide evidence to promote the consumption of a safe, nutritionally adequate and sustainable diet.