Evolution of the Omnivore

an Experiment of Speculative Gastronomy

Exploring human diets in a rapidly transforming planet

What effect will the rising temperatures have on the production of common foods? What would happen if we put the invasive species on the menu? Are the tomatoes we can find in the supermarket advanced pieces of technology or still products of natural processes? And could a plant become a brand? Can we hack our brain’s performance with our lunch? What would be the perfect meal in a fast-food world? Can fast food be personalized to our taste? Or could food become medicine? Could we, literally, eat our way out of our problems? And what would that taste like?

The purpose of this book is to provide the research context of the food design project Evolution of the Omnivore: An Experiment of Speculative Gastronomy, which was originally presented during Dutch Design Week 2019. Conceived by food design studio The Eatelier in collaboration with creative chef PIPPENS, such project aimed at revealing, mapping, and visualizing emerging trends in human diets within a rapidly transforming planet. The project’s ultimate intention was to reflect on current problems affecting food production and consumption, and to propose a vision of what human alimentary habits and diets could look like in the near future. In this sense, speculative gastronomy has been used as a method for imagining potential food-related developments, and to propose tangible taste experiences to the audiences attending the event.

The output of the research took shape as an 18 courses dinner-event during Dutch Design Week 2019 in which guests were be able to experience and taste The Eatelier’s and PIPPENS’ specific interpretation of the future of food.  

Evolution of the Omnivore: An Experiment of Speculative Gastronomy is based upon three main areas of intervention, namely climate, technology, and pharma-medical. It uses these categories to expand the common definition of humans as a omnivore species to include the ecological, social, and biological complexity of eating in the 21st century. As a consequence, three diet profiles are proposed. 

The present book will take you through the three proposed diet profiles and the underlying research behind them. Additionally, each of the dishes served during the Dutch Design Week will be presented and contextualized within the larger scope of the project.

The collaboration:

Food design studio The Eatelier and chef PIPPENS are both independent entrepreneurs and, since 2017, they have teamed up to develop a food design research project into a gastronomic food experience of 18 courses to be presented during Dutch Design Week. 

Katinka Versendaal, founder of The Eatelier:

The Eatelier was founded by Katinka Versendaal, a food designer with a background in product design from Design Academy Eindhoven. Throughout the years she moved from product- into food design and founded The Eatelier in 2016. She has won a scholarship from PepsiCo to specialize further and she is a graduate of the Master of Food Design & Innovation at Scuola Politecnica di Design, Milan, Italy in 2017.

The Eatelier is a food design studio, which aims to develop a sustainable, healthy and delicious future of food. They intend to provide a needed contribution for understanding the planetary crisis we are facing today in relationship to our food and achieve this by building a bridge between scientific research, socio-cultural trends, technological innovation and the gastronomic world. Their connection with the gastronomic field is rooted in the understanding that social change and progress is largely motivated by the human need for creativity, aesthetics and pleasure, therefore they aim to create an exciting and delicious version of our future.

Pepijn Meijers a.k.a. Chef PIPPENS:

Chef and founder of The Table by PIPPENS,
a restaurant on Strijp-S in Eindhoven which specializes in intimate dinner experiences for groups. 

Pepijn Meijers has a background in architecture which shaped him into a creative mind with a grant capacity of abstract thinking, combined with a head strong character and a great sense of humour. Following his passion for food and the kitchen, he moved into the gastronomic world and worked at renown Michelin starred restaurants before starting his own, unique hospitality concept The Table by PIPPENS. He has a strong desire to reinterpret and redefine the classic standards within gastronomy and the food experience and is set on testing its boundaries.