HEG thesis by Kea-Lynne Bawtinheimer

06 Nov 2015

From a professional standpoint, Kea brings forth over 10 years of leadership in the areas of marketing, communications and event management in both the business and the not-for-profit sector.

In 2010 Kea started her own company, Event Inc. Productions. It soon became known for producing niche marketing events for specifically targeted client and investor groups within the Metro Vancouver Real Estate Development Community.

Throughout this time, Kea nurtured her interest in food and wine by earning her first three WSET certificates as well as her French Wine Scholar Certification.
In the last few years she has been privileged to indulge her culinary passions as a contractor with various catering companies. For specialty clients, her company, Event Inc. Productions is contracted to create unique and memorable events experiences through carefully selected décor, inventive menus, wine pairings, and entertainment. 

As an experienced Event Planner, Kea has learned that the act of sitting down to a meal can be one of the strongest tools for building long-term memories.

The reasons for her desire to attend the Hautes Etudes du Gout were numerous and varied. The simple and most heartfelt answer Kea provides is that she is deeply passionate about food and she viewed the HEG course as a unique and special opportunity to indulge her personal passion while bolstering her ambitions in the culinary field.

Attending the HEG program, and the knowledge she gained through her thesis research, provided invaluable insight and further developed her personal passion and her ability to make a career transition into the world of cuisine. Kea is currently seeking new career opportunities where she can specialize in cultivating the art of flavor and environmental pairings and thereby create new, exciting and memorable culinary experiences for her clients.

Abstract of her thesis: “Plating Up Pleasure: Will an understanding of the gastronomic persona of the modern American diner provide a recipe for success in American restaurants”

American’s access to calories has never been easier, yet their relationship to food has never been so complex. Plating Up Pleasure: Will an understanding of the gastronomic persona of the modern American diner provide a recipe for success in American restaurants, seeks to analyze the American diner in terms of her historic, biological and social relationship to the modern American restaurant; and    through this understanding offer insight as to how a restaurant could better their customer’s dining experiences and in turn, better their restaurant’s chance of survival.  

With a first part providing a better understanding of the psyche of the American diner, the focus of Kea's work then turns to the physical and social sciences in an effort to gain knowledge as to how    a restaurant could best satiate this persona in a restaurant environment. This section starts with a brief look into the understanding of the functions of the reptilian brain and how to trigger the brain’s    pleasure network through the needs and wants of he five senses. Examples throughout this section describe how a restaurant could stimulate and maximize a guest’s sensorial pleasures in a manner that benefits a restaurant’s individual identity.   

While  humans for eat sustenance, there are many other social necessities that we consume during the act of dining. This section shows that while many tastes are inherited, diners further seek    comfort, cohesion, conviviality, origin, knowledge, entertainment and a percentage of adventure and Novelty, from their meals to be socially satiated. The inclusion of these elements exhibited  Through    the act of Communal eating, rewards one’s social solidarity by collaborating with the brain’s naturally selected reward system. Communal Dining is therefore found to be inheritably pleasurable, and is of  growing importance to the role of the average American and the success of a restaurant, as the restaurant itself becomes the epicenter of communal dining in America.      

The restaurant as a business entity is examined in the final section of Kea's  work. The research into American’s social and biological appetites show that food alone does not fill the restaurant; however    appealing to a diner’s historical, cultural and biological appetite is not enough to keep a restaurant’s doors open either. After a look into the components  that construct a successful restaurant business model, three base elements are offered as building blocks needed in the development and maintenance of running a successful restaurant in America today. These founding structures are identified as    the elements of Business, Food and Humanity; It is further proposed that these base elements are interdependent, equally necessary, and without the inclusion of one of these founding pieces a restaurant will inevitably collapse.      

There are a number of elements that are required to safeguard the longevity of a restaurant; still it is important for a restaurateur or chef to understand all of the components of a meal. A meal is not everything, and yet it is touched by almost everything. A meal can speak to memory, to a sense of place, family, politics, technology, biology, economy and pleasure, the customer tastes them all, and  they all need to be thoughtfully considered.

Institut des Hautes Etudes du Goût, de la Gastronomie et des des Arts de la Table

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