Jean A. Nihoul

Curatorial Associate, Museum of Food and Drink


Steak and Pumpkin- Ribeye, Maitake and Potato Hash, Pumpkin Purée, Pumpkin Seed Chimichurri, Beef Demi

Jean is interested in the study of modernist culinary theory and it’s philosophies from historical, anthropological, and sociological perspectives. Such topics include the study of: sustainable food (from growing and cultivating to harvesting) practices; how food has assumed its current role in popular culture; the history of the culinary arts; the artistic and aesthetic components of a gastronomic experience; gustatory aesthetics, foods and dishes as cultural representations; increased scientific investigations to arrive at a deeper understanding of ingredients so as to further the global culinary repertoire; as well as examining creative techniques and concepts used to understand, cook, eat, and experience ingredients or dishes in novel ways.

Practitioners include (but not limited to): Ferran Adrìa, David Chang, Daniel Patterson, René Redzepi, the Roca brothers, Andoni Luis Aduriz, José Andrés, Quique Dacosta, Massimo Bottura, Alex Atala, Grant Achatz, Dan Barber, Wylie Dufresne, David Kinch, Daniel Humm, Heston Blumenthal, Juan Mari and Elena Arzak, Pierre Gagnaire, Michel Bras, Alain Ducasse, and others. Other academics who deal with such topics include Massimo Montanari, Fabio Parasecoli, John T. Edge, Barbara Kirschenblatt-Gimblett, Krishnendu Ray, Paul Freedman, Priscilla Parkhurst-Ferguson, Warren Belasco, Peter Scholliers, Ken Albala, Psyche Williams-Forson, Jonathan Deutsch, and Carolyn Korsemeyer. 

With such interests and figures in mind, the following websites, books, videos, and interviews offer a further glimpse into these studies.

For a more recent and general idea of what Jean likes to read and cook, be sure to follow him on Twitter, @nihoulj, and on Instagram, @nihoulj.


(Click image to enlarge) Illustration by Kate Copeland, “Everyone Knows Everyone,” The New Yorker (January 4, 2015),


Sharon Butler, “A Brief History of Food and Art.” Smithsonian Magazine, January 23, 2017. Accessed July 23, 2017.

Mark Clintberg. “Hungry Eyes: Food Photography from elBulli and Beyond.” C Magazine C.110 (Summer, 2011): 18–24. Accessed November 30, 2013.

Fritz Allhoff and Dave Monroe, eds. Food and Philosophy: Eat, Think and Be Merry. Malden & Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2007.

Elizabeth Telfer. Food for Thought: Philosophy and Food. London and New York: Routledge, 1996.

Maria Domene-Danés. “El Bulli: Contemporary Intersections Between Food, Science, Art and Late Capitalism.” BRAC Barcelona Research Art Creation vol. 1, no. 1 (2013): 100-126. doi: 10.4471/brac.2013.04.

Carolyn Korsmeyer. Making Sense of Taste: Food & Philosophy. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999.

Fabio Parasecoli. “Deconstructing Soup: Ferran Adrià’s Culinary Challenges.” Gastronomica: The Journal of Food and Culture vol. 1, no. 1 (Winter, 2001): 60-73.

——— “Savoring Semiotics: Food in Intercultural Communication.” Social Semiotics vol. 21, no. 5 (November, 2011): 645-663. doi: 10.1080/10350330.2011.578803.

Marienne L. Quinet.  “Food as Art: The Problem of Function.” British Journal of Aesthetics vol. 21. no. 2 (1981): 159-71. doi: 10.1093/bjaesthetics/21.2.159.

Isabelle de Solier. “Liquid Nitrogen Pistachios: Molecular Gastronomy, elBulli and Foodies.” European Journal of Cultural Studies vol. 13, no. 2 (2010): 155-170. doi: 10.1177/1367549409352275.

Dan Jurafsky. The Language of Food: A Linguist Reads the Menu. New York, N.Y.: W.W. Norton, 2014.

Charles Spence and Betina Piqueras-Fiszman. The Perfect Meal: The Multisensory Science of Food and Dining. Chichester, U.K.: John Wiley & Sons, 2014.

Priscilla Parkhurst- Ferguson. Accounting for Taste: The Triumph of French Cuisine. Chicago, I.L.: University of Chicago, 2004.

Amy B. Trubek. Haute Cuisine: How the French Invented the Culinary Profession. Philadelphia, P.A.: University of Pennsylvania, 2001.

Paul Freedman. Food: The History of Taste. Berkeley, C.A.: University of California, 2007.

David M. Kaplan, ed. The Philosophy of Food. Berkeley, C.A.: University of California, 2012.

Susan Smillie. “Is Food Art?” The Guardian, May 24, 2007. Accessed November 6, 2013.

William Deresiewicz. “A Matter of Taste?” The New York Times, October 28, 2012, p. 5. Accessed January 15, 2014.



Ferran Adrià, Thomas Keller, Heston Blumenthal, and Harold McGee. “Statement on the ‘New Cookery’.” The Observer, December 9, 2006. Accessed November 5, 2013.

Harold McGee. On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen. New York: Scribner, 1984.

David Chang. “David Chang's Unified Theory of Deliciousness.” Wired (August, 2016).

Arielle Johnson. “Artisinal Food Microbiology.” Nature Microbiology vol. 1, no. 4 (April, 2016): 16039. doi: 10.1038/nmicrobiol.2016.39.

René Redzepi. Noma. London, U.K.: Phaidon, 2013.

——— René Redzepi: A Work in Progress. London, U.K.: Phaidon, 2013.

Daniel Patterson. Coi: Stories and Recipes. London, U.K.: Phaidon, 2013.

——— “Daniel Patterson: ‘Coi, Stories and Recipes’.” Google Talks, December 20, 2013.

——— “Daniel Patterson, Parts 1 & 2.” Interview by Dorothy Cann Hamilton. Heritage Radio Network: Chef’s Story, nos. 65-66 (January 15, 2014, & January 22, 2014)., and

David Kinch. Manresa: An Edible Reflection. Berkeley, C.A.: Ten Speed Press, 2013.

“Cynthia Sandberg & David Kinch: Crafting Exclusive Farm/Restaurant Collaborations.” MAD Symposium, October 4, 2013.

Magnus Nilsson. Fäviken. London, U.K.: Phaidon, 2012.

——— “Magnus Nilsson: ‘Fäviken’.” Google Talks, November 18, 2012.

“Alain Ducasse in Conversation with David Chang, Daniel Patterson, and René Redzepi.” MAD Symposium, October 21, 2013.

Andoni Luis Aduriz. Mugaritz: A Natural Science of Cooking. London, U.K.: Phaidon, 2012.

Heston Blumenthal. The Big Fat Duck Cookbook. New York, N.Y.: Bloomsbury, 2008.

Kyle Vanhemert. “David Chang Shares the Secrets Behind Momofuku’s Delicious Success.” Wired, November 19, 2014.

Nathan Myhrvold. “Nathan Myhrvold: ‘The Art of Science and Cooking’.” Google Talks, November 15, 2012.

Dan Barber. The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food. New York, N.Y.: Penguin Press HC, 2014.

——— “The Taste of Wheat.” MAD Symposium, February 15, 2013.

——— “Dan Barber, Parts 1 & 2.” Interview by Dorothy Cann Hamilton. Heritage Radio Network: Chef’s Story, nos. 83-84 (August 13, 2014, & August 20, 2014)., and

Jonathan Gold. “Authenticity.” MAD Symposium, February 13, 2015.

Massimo Bottura. Never Trust a Skinny Italian Chef. New York, N.Y.: Phaidon, 2014.

——— “Massimo Bottura: Never Trust a skinny Italian Chef.” Google Talks, October 28, 2014.

——— “Cultural Consciousness.” MAD Symposium, February 15, 2013.

Sean Brock. Heritage. New York, N.Y.: Artisan, 2014.

——— “Sean Brock, Parts 1 & 2.” Interview by Dorothy Cann Hamilton. Heritage Radio Network: Chef’s Story, nos. 45 & 86 (June 5, 2013, & October 29, 2014)., and

Juan, Josep, and Jordi Roca. El Celler de Can Roca. Barcelona, Spain: Librooks, 2013.

——— El Somni. Directed by Franc Aleu. Barcelona, Spain: MediaPro, 2014. Accessed March 10, 2014.

“Pascal Barbot: Spontaneity in Cuisine.” MAD Symposium, November 4, 2013.

Christian Puglisi. Relae: A Book of Ideas. Berkeley, C.A.: Ten Speed Press, 2014.

——— “Move Your Guts or be Gutted.” MAD Symposium, October 15, 2013.

Wylie Dufresne. “Wyle Dufresne.” Interview by Dorothy Cann Hamilton. Heritage Radio Network: Chef’s Story, no. 72 (April 23, 2014).

——— “An Appetite for Knowledge.” MAD Symposium, November 23, 2012.

John T. Edge. “John T. Edge.” Interview by Dorothy Cann Hamilton. Heritage Radio Network: Chef’s Story, no. 48 (July 10, 2013).


Readings on Ferran Adrià:

Ferran Adrià. El Bulli: Cooking in Progress. DVD. Directed by Gereon Wetzel. Aired

September 15, 2011. New York, N.Y.: Alive Mind Cinema, 2012.

——— Documenting Documenta. Digital. Written and directed by David Pujol. Aired December, 2011. Girona, Spain: Visual13, 2011. Accessed February 8, 2014.

——— “Do I Have an Appetite for Creativity?” MAD Symposium, February 15, 2013.

Vicente Todolì and Richard Hamilton, eds. Food for Thought, Thought for Food. New York: Actar, 2009.

Colman Andrews. Ferran: the Inside Story of el Bulli and the Man who Reinvented Food. New York: Gotham Books, 2010.

Sam Borden. “Ferran Adrià Feeds the Hungry Mind: The Former El Bulli Chef is now Serving up Creative Inquiry.” The New York Times, January 2, 2015. Accessed January 12, 2015.

John Carlin. “If the World’s Greatest Chef Cooked for a Living, He’d Starve.” The Observer Food Monthly vol. 69 (December 11, 2006). Accessed October 22, 2013.,,1969713,00.html.

Arthur Lubow. “A Laboratory of Taste.” The New York Times Magazine, August 10, 2003. Accessed November 8 2013.

Jay McInerney. “It Was Delicious While it Lasted.” Vanity Fair Magazine (October, 2010): 170-175. Accessed October 22, 2013.

Adrian Searle. “Should I eat it or frame it?” The Guardian, September 14, 2008, p. 4-7. Accessed November 8, 2013.

Gerry Dawes. “Over the Foaming Wave.” Food Arts (September, 2008): 73-78. Accessed November 8, 2013.

Farago, Jason. “Chef Ferran Adrià and the Problem of Calling Food Art.” The British Broadcasting Corporation: Culture, January 14, 2014. Accessed January 15, 2014.

Brett Littman. Ferran Adrià: Notes on Creativity. New York, N.Y.: The Drawing Center Press, 2014.


Blogs, Journals, & Other Resources:

Edible Arts (blog)- Exploring the Aesthetics between Food and Wine.


The MAD Feed-

The Guardian’s Food Section-

The New York Times Food Section-

The Wall Street Journal Food Section- The Science of BBQ & Grilling-

NPR’s The Salt-

Association for the Study of Food and Society-

Gastronomica: The Journal of Critical Food Studies-

James Beard Foundation-

Oxford Symposium on Food & Cookery-

The Philosophy of Food Project- This site “aims to disseminate information about the philosophical investigation of food; increase the visibility of food as a topic for philosophical research; serve as a resource for researchers, teachers, students, and the public; galvanize a community of philosophers working on food issues; and help raise the level of public discourse about food, agriculture, animals, and eating.”


interview between Jean Nihoul and Ferran Adrià

at Harvard University, Cambridge M.A., December 2, 2013