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Working in kitchens: The interactional foundations of collaboration

This project examines professional kitchens as a site for the study of collaboration and coordination. Using video-based analysis, this project examines the social interaction that underpins kitchen work. Examining how people collaboratively prepare, cook, and serve food under intense time and spatial pressures provides valuable insights into the social, embodied, material, and technological underpinnings of work.

Cooking is ubiquitous to all cultures and a defining characteristic of what it means to be human. This project looks at cooking as it occurs within hospitality businesses like restaurants, cafes, fast-food franchises, and takeaways, contributing to knowledge of how cooking is socially accomplished and organised within the modern workplace.

Cooking in the world of work combines production, service, and management whilst demanding craft, creativity, consistency, efficiency, autonomy, and highly skilled technical work. Studying social interaction in kitchens can illuminate a number of issues of importance to workplace studies including the use of tools, equipment and other forms of materiality in collaborative activity and the interactional management of routine tasks.

A focus of this project is the production and design of prospectively-oriented action and how it allows others to anticipate future actions and act accordingly.

Project status: Ongoing

Principal Investigator

  • Jessica La

    PhD Student in Public Services Management and Organisation