ASSIGNMENTS

As this is a 4 credit upper level studio course, students are expected to spend ~12 hours outside of class time working on assignments each week.

This year, the class is sponsored. What does that mean for you? The sponsor is providing funding to subsidize your material costs and class activities. Unlike most studio classes, you will be given a budget for each assignment paid for by the sponsor. You are welcome to spend more than that budget on the assignments, but you will be responsible for covering any additional costs. As this class is sponsored, any intellectual property you develop for Assignments 3 and 4 will be owned by the University with full rights granted to the sponsor so they can develop these ideas into real products. If you have questions about the sponsorship please contact me prior to class starting (barryk [at] umn.edu).

Jump to Assignment 2, Assignment 3, Assignment 4, Purhasing, Grades

Assignment 1:
Understanding and documenting your creative process

Assigned Sept 12, Due Sept 28

This assignment is all about innovation and specifically incremental innovation. In the food industry most innovation is incremental. Most people want to eat things that they can relate to in some way. If you think about the items you see at a grocery store or in a restaurant, "new" products are typically based on some prior concept. For this assignment, you are asked to innovate a dish that the general population (of our society) is familiar with. This is a creative process that chefs engage in daily. They are challenged to make something novel that people want to try, but not so novel that people are intimidated or not interested in purchasing or consuming it.

Together, you and your partner choose one of the provided recipes from How to Cook Everything as a starting point . You should then master the recipe by creating it several times thinking about the ingredients, ratios, presentation, cooking process, and preparation methods. You and your partner should then generate ideas for how to innovate the dish, sketch your ideas, test your ideas, refine the ideas, and be prepared to create a final dish in lab on Sept 28th. Your entire process should be documented with photos on your blog. Reference the lecture notes on idea generation and the creative method articles on the links page.

Assignment 2:
Taste/Smell/Texture Aesthetics
Assigned Oct 3, Due Oct 19

This assignment is all about the sense of touch (as in mouth feel), taste and smell. These are the senses that are typically ignored and less critical in designing most products. When manipulating texture, flavor and smell of ingredients we need to have a better understanding of the science. This module is what most closely connects to food science and what some associate with terms like "molecular gastronomy" or "modernist cuisine."

This assignment involves creating an amuse-bouche or "mouth pleaser." Which is typically a creative one-bite gift from the chef to customers prior to their meal. The amuse-bouche must fit on a single spoon (spoons provided) and actually be consumed in one bite. As the emphasis of this assignment is on texture and flavor, we are limiting the number of base ingredients to 4 items. This is so you can focus on creating an interesting flavor pairing and the consumers can actually taste all of the flavors. We are also exploring texture manipulation and so one of the ingredients must have some texture manipulation to make it different from its expected texture. Your blog post should document your process with images and text.

Assignment 3:
Visual Aesthetics

Assigned Oct 24, Due Nov 9

This assignment is focusing on what most people think designers do: "make things look pretty." As you should have seen by now, design is much more than visual aesthetics. Design is a process and is about functionality just as it is about form. And typically form should relate to functionality. Keeping this in mind, there are many general principles of design that can be used to make things visually appealing. As we tend to "eat first with our eyes" visual aesthetic is important in the food industry.

In this assignment, you will use the techniques discussed in lecture to design a plating of a dish. This is a task that chefs do daily. It is also related to the profession of food styling which has their own set of tips and tricks. This is the first sponsored project of the semester and we will be working closely with our sponsor to develop intriguing aesthetically pleasing presentations of a food product. You and your partner should select one of the optional food products and design a plating for that product to showcase it in a beautifully interesting manner. You can add items to the product, but it must still remain the same product. You should also use your budget to purchase (or make) the vessel you plan to use to present the dish. The deliverable will be an in-class physical presentation and photos (and video if desired) that could be used in a social media campaign.

Assignment 4:
Food Experience

Assigned Nov 14, Due Dec 7 (and again Dec 10)

The final assignment (which is also sponsored) combines all of the topics discussed in the class including idea generation, innovation, flavor pairing, texture manipulation, and visual aesthetic. However in this assignment we are adding two additional considerations: experience and production. For this assignment you and your partner will be creating an novel edible interaction for 250 guests. To do this, you must think about the full experience from the user's perspective interacting with your "dish". Storyboarding should be used to think through the concept as ideas are developed. Your creation can not simply be food on a plate. It must contain some novel interaction. You are also responsible for designing your booth and whatever items may be part of your service experience.

As you will be serving 250 people, you and your partner should think through the service. How will you prepare the food and serve the food for efficiency, quality and safety while retaining your desired experience? This process maps to stages of manufacturing, assembly, and sales in general consumer goods. In addition to developing and preparing the food, you are also serving the dish and you must be ready to discuss and answer questions from the customers. There will be an internal critique with chefs on Dec 7th and the final Eat Design event on Dec 10th.

Purchasing

This class is a studio and you will be prototyping and iterating with real materials. This involves buying groceries at stores (and perhaps online). As this class is sponsored, each team will be given a pre-paid credit card to make purchases. For each assignment you will have a different teammate and a new credit card. Each assignment has a different budget.

$60 for Assignment 1
$50 for Assignment 2
$40 for Assignment 3
$200 for Assignment 4

You will need to keep receipts from all purchases made on these cards. Receipts and Credit Card are to be turned in to the TA the class after assignments are due. You are not allowed to use these cards to make purchases unrelated to your assignments.

You are welcome to spend more than the allotted amount, but you will be personally responsible for those costs. You should not charge more on the card than allotted for each assignment.

The budget for assignmet 2 is lower than assignment 1 as 2 involves small portions and few ingredients. The budget for 3 is lower than 2 as some materials will be provided by the sponsor. The final assignment has a grand budget as you will be creating dishes for many people.

Grading:

There are 4 design projects total. The first three are each worth 20% of your grade. The final project is worth 30% of your grade. 10% of your grade is participation. As each assignment is performed in pairs, you and your partner will share the same grade for the assignment you worked on. You will be paired with a different person for each of the four assignments, so you are never "stuck" with the same person.

Projects are submitted for critique and grading on specific Wednesdays in the schedule during lab. A blog post will be required for each project that is due on the same Wednesday at midnight.   Grades will be returned the following Monday in lecture. The grade will be a combination of the scores from experts/clients from the critique and completeness of the blog post.

Class participation grades are based on both attendance and quality of in-class activity. Attendance is crucial as every lecture builds on the last. Tardiness will also count against the participation grade.  Only in certain circumstances as described in the Policies section will an absence or tardy not affect the grade.  A missed unexcused lecture or lab is a 5% deduction (i.e. half your class participation score).  More than two unexcused lectures or labs is considered an incomplete in the class.