Research in Engineering Design

, Volume 27, Issue 2, pp 165–177 | Cite as

Reinventing classics: the hidden design strategies of renowned chefs

  • Marine AgoguéEmail author
  • Armand Hatchuel
Original Paper


Reinventing classics is a well-used yet complex design pattern. Indeed, a reinterpreted classic needs to relate to the original object while simultaneously challenging the initial model and providing a new and fresh look to the well-established classic. However, this design strategy remains understudied, and we aimed to contribute to the literature by addressing the lack of theoretical models for reinventing classics. Reinterpreting tradition is a key process for chefs in the culinary world. Our paper explores how design theories elucidate how chefs reinterpret classics and innovate in their kitchens by stepping away from tradition. Our contribution to the study of design is twofold. First, from a methodological point of view, we used a framework based on C–K theory and axiomatic design theory to conduct a comparative analysis of recipes for 30 dishes that were reinterpreted by the renowned chef Alain Ducasse. Second, our study identified two design regimes used by chefs to reinvent classics by focusing on the nature of the set of functions a recipe aims to fulfill. The first regime consists of retaining the same functions from the original recipe while changing the means to achieve them. The second requires changing the set of functions by removing old ones, adding new ones, and occasionally designing new ways to achieve the functions.


Tradition Innovation Reinterpretation Culinary design Design theory 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.HEC MontréalMontrealCanada
  2. 2.MINES ParisTech – PSL Research UniversityParisFrance

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