Whilst watching Masterchef recently I was struck by the similarities between fine food and good product design. The creators of each must posses an in depth knowledge of their target audience, understand the history of the ingredients they are working with, and be seen to push the boundaries in their sector. The client demands new and innovative solutions which allow them to market the product and generate revenue for the organisation. Reputation is all important and awards, whether they be a Michelin star, or a red dot are much coveted and displayed.
Also it is difficult to get acceptance for anything too radical, whether that be product, or food, as the consumer may not understand what they are being offered. The product needs to connect with the user at some level. There is a tendency to refer back to classic solutions, proven crowd pleaser’s, to give a point of reference and then move the concept on with a new interpretation, addition, or twist. Most of us are creatures of habit after all.
There is a big difference in the production of the end product. A chef is always going to be designer/maker. Mass production = junk food!, whilst the most celebrated product designs happily role off the production lines of Far Eastern factories. Whether you are comfortable with the macho posturing of the many ‘celebrity’ chefs, I have to admire the effort put into every single dish leaving a top class kitchen that is destined to be consumed and gone within 20 minutes. A product may be around for many years, so designers must be sure they have got their ingredients right!