Stuck in the office but need to get dinner started? We may not be there just yet, but Collaborative Cooking is a Swedish interactive digital project that allows up to five chefs to prepare a meal together regardless of their location. While the final result is a hot and hopefully tasty dinner, along the way the project examines how participants interact with the machine and each other to resolve common, too-many-cooks issues, such as who added too much salt.
The Stockholm-based project is the work of Christian Isberg, Petter Johansson Kukacka, Lasse Korsgaard and chef Carl Berglöf, who see it as a “project about how food, interaction and anonymity can create discussion and commitment in the form of new physical meetings.” The project developers want participants and audiences to consider the issues around the future of food and to ask the question, “Do we really need to go to expensive restaurants and meet famous chefs in order to have a stimulating dialogue about food and cooking?”
The elaborate cooking machine has internet connectivity and receives data inputs from five remote operators who guide it to add ingredients into a cooking pot at the appropriate times and in the appropriate quantities. There are 35 different functions and ingredients that the cooks can control through the digital interface, although someone still needs to load up the machine with preprepped ingredients. The entire slow-cooking process takes between 10 to 20 hours.
The spark for the project came when one of Sweden’s top chefs was asked, “Do you always have to taste your own food?” His response was, “Not as long as I have cooked it myself.” However delicious or otherwise the result, the participants are the real focus of the project as they negotiate their way through what can be an already unpredictable process. Most cooks have very firm opinions on the correct way to prepare a dish, so whether five people can agree on methods and quantities, or whether someone goes rogue and ruins everything makes for a fascinating evening’s performance. The next presentation of the project will be at Atelier Food at The Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts on June 13, 2014.
Photos by Collaborative Cooking