Eat Design

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Eat Design: An Edible Design Tasting Experience
Team 4: Heidi Woelfle & Laura Haines

In teams of two, come up with creative experiential tapas for 50+ guests. The guests will need to be able to eat the food standing up or walk away with it.

ideas list.jpg We started brainstorming a list of possible ideas in class. The two ideas that we liked the best were the savory whipped creams with toppings and the bacon sushi idea. We storyboarded both of these ideas during class. Our initial idea for the bacon sushi was to prep the sushi ingredients ahead of time, and then roll the sushi in front of the guests to create an experience.

bacon storyboard 1.jpgbacon storyboard.jpg
whipped cream storyboard.jpg The initial idea for the savory whipped creams was to have a fro yo type set up, where the whipped creams would be different savory flavors, and toppings would include bacon bits and other things. Guests would pick their own flavors and toppings similar to self serve frozen yogurt. We received feedback on both ideas during an in-class critique. The comments on both ideas were good, but after hearing how many others in the class had ideas for savory "desserts", we decided to go with the idea for a bacon sushi.
in class crique.jpgcritique 2.jpg

turkey bacon.jpgOur first version of the bacon sushi substituted the seaweed with bacon, the rice with orzo, and the fish with egg. We purchased cheap turkey bacon for experimentation purposes, because we anticipated many trials in attempting to roll the bacon into a sushi shape. We cooked the orzo, made an egg omelet, and cooked the bacon. When all ingredients were done, we put the orzo and egg pieces onto the bacon and rolled it. The bacon wouldn't hold naturally, so a toothpick was required. The orzo fell out of the roll pretty easily, and it didn't look much like sushi anyway. The orzo also didn't make much sense with the bacon and eggs, and so we decided to go a different route with our sushi idea. Rather than calling it bacon sushi, we decided to try and do a breakfast sushi.
First sushi.jpg

Since neither of us were big sushi eaters, we decided to do more research before doing any more experimentation. When researching different types of sushi we found one called Tamagoyaki, which included egg. Since the sushi had egg in it already, we felt it wouldn't be too difficult to substitute the rest of the components. We did some sketching and came up with the next idea that we wanted to try.

egg and hashbrowns together.jpgomelet and hashbrowns cooking.jpgWe went forward and tried out our idea with egg, bacon, and hashbrowns. We made the hashbrowns fresh, hoping that we could get them to stick together. We made a two-egg omelet for the egg portion of the sushi, and then attempted to mold the hashbrowns into a compact shape and pair it with a piece of the omelet. We then wrapped it with raw bacon and fried the entire piece together. Frying the sushi while the bacon was raw allowed the bacon to stick to itself and the sushi to keep its shape. However, the hashbrowns didn't look very appetizing and did not hold their shape.
egg, hashbrowns, raw bacon.jpgHeidi cooking.jpgFinal with hashbrowns.jpg
We wanted to continue working on this idea, but to try it a couple of other different ways. We wanted to try the same idea with frozen hashbrowns instead of fresh, and also to try Steven Brown's suggestion of using tator tots instead of hashbrowns. We tried both at the same time and found that even the frozen hashbrowns wouldn't keep their shape. The tator tots, however, kept their shape wonderfully, and the taste of the final product was excellent.
tator tots and hashbrowns.jpgraw bacon tator tot.jpgtator tots hashbrowns sushi cooking.jpg

Eat Design
Very few photos were taken during the Eat Design event because of how busy we both were doing prep. We prepped a large amount of our breakfast sushi ahead of time, and then cooked more as the event went on to ensure that each guest was getting them fresh.
eat design prep 2.jpgeat design prep.jpg

To give the guests a sushi experience, we set up the table with rectangular sushi plates and a sushi mat. We had chopsticks for guests to use to eat the breakfast sushi. For dipping, we had maple syrup and sriracha available as well as mini dipping cups.

Table set up.jpg

The experience turned out great. All of the guests seemed to really enjoy the food, and many enjoyed mixing the syrup and sriracha together. They also enjoyed using the chopsticks. Many of the guests also thanked us for providing napkins at our table. Overall, the event was a succeess!

Kitchen and Kitchenware

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Our fourth challenge was to create an innovative culinary vessel or utensil out of wood. Upon hearing the challenge I was a little daunted, but my worries soon faded after getting a tour of the University of Minnesota's woodshop and seeing how helpful the manager and technicians were.

My thought process for this task began the first day we were assigned the project when we were put into groups to brainstorm utensil ideas using the process introduced to us by Professor Barry Kudrowitz. I really enjoyed this process because it was limitless. As I was thinking of ideas I was more aware of my own thought process and how I will discard ideas before I should because I find them to be "stupid", "weird", or "impossible" when really they could be the beginning of an amazing idea, but if I shut down an idea in the beginning it can never be improved upon or receive feedback. I tried my best to write down every idea related to culinary vessels or utensils, which is why some of these ideas might not be very feasible considering our time constraints and the fact that we had to use wood.


My post-its and the post-its from my group members.

Once I got back to my dorm I tried to use the same thought process to think of more ideas.


A few new post-its.

I tried making a prototype of my idea of a bowl that would have a divider that you could pull out when you have to mix dry and wet ingredients separately and then together when baking, but I decided against that idea because I didn't think it would be feasible considering our time constraints.



My bowl with a divider you can remove prototype.

I ended up deciding on a food pyramid plate because in my Italian class we were discussing the differences between Italian food culture and American food culture. I thought that a different way to remind kids to eat healthy would be to put what they have been learning in school health classes since they were little right in front of them as a constant visual reminder that it is important to eat from each food group and to know the proper/suggested size of portions to eat. I also believe that it would work well for adults because it is subtle enough that they would just look like modern triangle plates while still encouraging them to eat a varied diet. I decided to make a prototype out of my design before I made one out of wood so that I could get feedback from my friends and family before I made the final copy out of wood.


My cardboard food pyramid prototype.

I then proceeded to purchase the wood needed to make my plate. I decided on a red oak because it is a strong and durable kind of wood and because it was one of the few pieces of wood at Home Depot that wasn't plywood and actually large enough for what I needed to create.

I worked in the W. L. Hall Workshop at Rapson both Friday and Sunday and with the help of many of the technicians and practically all of the tools in the workshop I was able to finish my plate. I am very appreciative of all of their aid because I feel like I have gained a general knowledge of what most of the tools do and because I now have firsthand experience making something with my own two hands.


The plate in the process of being made.

I did, however, face a bit of difficulty along the way. As I was chiseling the rim of my plate a bit of it chipped since the edge was so thin, so I ended up having to glue my plate at two points.


The plate being glued.

Thankfully, they were quite small pieces that broke off, so it wasn't very noticeable. To finish my plate I applied mineral oil, because it is one of the few food safe finishes for wood.


The final product.

Plating - The Plate as a Canvas

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Our third challenge was to create an interesting plating using all that we had learned from lectures (2D and 3D), our restaurant outings, and in person from Diane Yang, the pastry chef from La Belle Vie in Minneapolis.


A dessert plating from La Belle Vie

My documentation of my thought process was a little different than the last two challenges because this challenge was focused on the visual aspects more than the flavors that were involved (although, the flavors still should have gone together), so I ended up drawing out some ideas along with writing things to help me visualize what it might look like before I actually started cutting up my cake.

I was first inspired by architecture and trying to somehow imitate that with cake, but my attempts didn't seem to work for the Sydney Opera House and I ran out of cake to try and make the Great Pyramids of Giza, so I wasn't able to even attempt the Central China Television Headquarters building.


Rather than waste my cake from my failed opera house I decided to crumble that cake to give it an earthy/organic look.


• Savannah principle - looks earthy i.e. dirt
• Analogous colors except for dots of raspberry sauce
• White chocolate and raspberry add flavor and moisture
• Chaos unified by color




I later tried movement with sauces and height (3D effect) with the sugar garnish.
The next plating I tried used one of the techniques that pastry Chef Diane Yang taught us, this technique was making quenelles. I made my quenelle out of whipped cream so that it wouldn't melt and so that I could get the technique down.


After many attempts, I finally was able to make a quenelle.
I then included my successful quenelle into my second plating.



• Kind of a golden triangle
• Raspberry sauce - in a line -brown and maroon are kind of opposites, but still close on the color wheel
• Odd# of nuts
• Garnish is edible, yet still aesthetically pleasing


I then tried to add a chocolate sauce to add movement. I would have tried caramel or a nut based sauce, but I only had enough ingredients to try a chocolate sauce.



My last plating also involved spun sugar. I had a fun time experimenting with how to make different shapes and the different things you could do at different times during its cooling process.

My third plating used the spun sugar in two different ways; as sticks and something resembling that of tumbleweed.



I think that this plating incorporated the most of the design elements that we learned about in lecture such as;

• Asymmetric Balance
• Odd#'s (walnuts and the three main items)
• Savannah principle (looks natural)
• Simplicity (less is more)
• Flow - shows movement in the honey and the position of the three main items
• Unity - one color palate which creates a calming effect
• Garnish (spun sugar) - works with the flavors
• Height - size of the cake and the 2 sugar sticks on top of the cake



In class on Wednesday we were able to practice different techniques or plating and get feedback before the actual critique so I decided to try and improve my spun sugar. After getting some tips from pastry Chef Diane Yang I was able to refine my technique for making spun sugar baskets. The baskets now have thinner strings and look more complex.

I decided to stick with the plating that incorporated the most aspects of food and design, but the food that was used in the final product differed a little bit from the original because instead of molasses I used honey and instead of whipped cream there was supposed to be coffee ice cream tucked inside of the cake.


The final product


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My thought process for what I wanted to make started out the same as it did with the Rice/Orzo challenge; I made a thought bubble map and wrote down as many ideas as I could towards the beginning and narrowed them down to the best ones after.


Bubble map of Ideas

I also wrote down all of the fresh Minnesota vegetables that I would be willing to cook with and then tried to make bubble maps for each of those vegetables/fruits.


List of Fresh MN Veggies and Fruits


Bubble map of Specific Veggies and Fruits

I found that this assignment pushed me in different ways than the first assignment had in that it was an amuse-bouche and therefore it had to show many different talents in a single bite, such as flavor pairing, presentation on a spoon, and texture combination. This assignment seemed to have a Fall theme considering we had to have an in season fruit or vegetable so I for the most part was writing down dishes that were a bit more hearty/thanksgiving related. The first dish I tried testing in my dorm's kitchen was a gelled pumpkin soup with different toppings.


Some of the Pumpkin Soup Ingredients

The soup's ingredients:
• Chicken broth
• Canned pumpkins
• Onion
• Garlic
• Butter
• ½ and ½
• Crushed red pepper
• Coriander
• Salt
• Curry powder

I ended up not being able to use the chemical sodium alginate because I didn't have a blender so when the chemical was poured in it clumped immediately. I therefore focused my efforts on the flavor pairings and hoped that on the critique day my pumpkin soup would gel. After my soup was made I tried different toppings to see what would have the best combination of taste and texture. The toppings I tried were bacon, honey crisp apples, and whipped cream without sugar. I tried all of these ingredients separately and then all of their total possible combinations.


Soup and Bacon


Soup and Whipped Cream


Soup and Honey Crisp Apples

After letting my friends sample the combinations we concluded that the apple and bacon had the best combination because of the crisp texture of the apple and the way the flavor of the bacon brought out the flavor in the soup.


Sampling the Different Flavors


Apple and Bacon Combination

The next dish that I tried was a reinvented PB and J. Instead of jelly I used grape juice that had been formed into a solid with gelatin. I then added a honey crisp apple to create a contrast between the soft bread and peanut butter and jelly.


PB and J


Grape Juice Gel


Reinvented PB and J

I also tried different ways of presenting this PB and J so that instead of a sandwich there were just different decorative shapes of cut bread.


Heart shaped PB and J

I ended up deciding against this dish because I thought that the apple was not the main focus of the dish and because I was not using fresh grapes to make the grape juice so it would not count as a fresh Minnesota fruit that was in season. I was still very happy with how my pumpkin soup combinations had turned out, so I just had to hope that the gel would work in lab. Thankfully, the gels did work after help and advice from Ms. Kauppi we were able to create a strong enough gel to hold the size of soup that I wanted for my final presentation.


Trial and Error to Achieve the Pumpkin Soup Gel


A Successful Gel


The Final Product minus Whipped Cream

Creativity with Rice

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For Food and Design's first assignment we had to pick between either rice or orzo and do something innovative with our choice of starch. When given such a broad assignment like this it can be hard to know where to begin. Thankfully, in one of our lectures we learned about different creative methods which can be applied to any area and creative methods primarily used in creating new dishes, like the creative method SCAMPER used by Spanish chef Ferran Adria and American chef Grant Achatz.

I started out my brainstorming process with a combination of the two methods which involved writing out every idea that came to mind and at the same time substituting regular ingredients for unexpected ones, adapting dishes from different cultures to make them new, and reversing the structure of how the dish might normally be. After creating this bubble map of ideas I noticed that simply having it in front of me would spark new ideas which were quickly added to the sheet. When I found an idea that I liked in particular I would give it its own map so that I could generate ideas around that one idea.


The rice bubble map.


The rice macaroon bubble map.

This bubble map process also allowed me to see what was possible and eliminate the infeasible dishes considering our time constraints. One of the biggest difficulties I experienced with this project was when I would come up with certain ideas I would find after looking on the internet that they had already been done, but considering how old, basic and universal rice is this was to be expected. These discoveries were both good and bad in that they helped me to try and be more innovative/change others' ideas to make them new, but bad in that they had already been done by many people and were therefore not novel.

After pondering over a lot of mind maps, food blogs, and cookbooks I decided to try making macaroons with a rice pudding filling. Most macaroons have a smooth filling so I thought that there would be a nice contrast between the melt in your mouth cookie and the thick, rich rice pudding. I also was interested in bringing the flavor of rice into the cookie so I divided my batter into three sections and tried three different combinations of all almond flour (the traditional way to make macaroons), ½ almond flour and ½ rice flour, and all rice flour. By trying all three different combos at once I was able to easily compare the three different flavors, appearances, and textures.


The three different types of macaroon batter.


All rice macaroons on the bottom and all almond macaroons on the top.


50 50 rice and almond flour macaroons.


Rice pudding.


All three types of macaroons.

After trying all three I concluded that the ½ almond flour and ½ rice flour was the best combination because it gave a subtle taste of rice, while still tasting like and resembling a French macaroon.


Closeup of the 50 50 macaroon.

Before sticking with my first idea I wanted to try another dessert to see if this idea would be more successful/innovative. My next dessert was going to be ice cream with rice pudding wrapped around it, then covered in rice flour and all-purpose flour, then egg, breadcrumbs and then finally fried. I was inspired by Japanese mochi, in that I liked the idea of a dessert with something unexpected inside. I was also inspired by Mexican fried ice cream. I believe that my dish might have turned out ok had I not forgotten to coat the rice pudding and ice cream balls before throwing them in the oil. If I had had more time I would have tried this idea again, but the space I was using to test my food ideas had been reserved by others.


Before my mishap with the oil in Middlebrook's kitchenette.

So with my second idea not having been made to completion I decided to stick with the first dish I had tested. My final macaroons were made with ½ rice flour and ½ almond flour and the rice pudding filling was made with a 1/3 mix of cream, 1/3 vitamin D milk, and 1/3 rice milk. I would describe the final product as a sweet, unpredicted take on the classic French macaroon.


Rice-a-roons from critique day.

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