The Contradiction Between Culinary Innovation Research and Gastro Tourism Practice




Gastro-tourism, contemporary cuisine, food innovation, new product development, food heritage, gastro-nationalism


This historical review explores a descriptive-informative overview of cuisine as a component of gastro-tourism and travel. The paper reports on contemporary culinary innovation offerings in a South African context, analysing the links – or absence thereof – between academia and the gastro-tourism industry, to illustrate the ambiguity between research and practice in culinary innovation and its effects on the gastro-tourism industry. The qualitative methodology employed was informed by the historically oriented systematic literature review process.  This was guided by a structured approach to determine relevant source material that would be useful for the historical literature review purpose. Evidence searches for literature from various sources such as scholarly journals and professional magazines, grey literature and personal reviews within the industry were undertaken. The examples in this paper highlight the potential unstructured innovation taking place within the South African food service environment without supported evidence from academic research. Role-players in both research and the gastro-tourism fields could apply properly researched food heritage and gastro-nationalism interventions to draw tourists and allow them to experience innovative use of local indigenous produce and food heritage innovations. Examples include Wild Peach (Landolphia kirkii) or Sand Apricot Vine (Umkuzi in Zulu) fruit leather disk covering a cheese and fruit plate, or swirls of fruit leather used to decorate a carrot and Marula Bundt cake, made from bright Umnumbela or Transvaal Milk-plum purée, and Marula (Sclerocarya birrea) pulp in the carrot cake batter. The research highlights the limited available data, to establish a viable link between academia and the gastro-tourism industry. Despite this limitation, the paper foregrounds the efforts being made towards culinary innovation within the South African culinary industry. Simultaneously it also illustrates the originality of this research and the importance of improved collaboration.

Author Biography

Gerrie, University of Pretoria

Prof Gerrie du Rand is an associate professor in the Department of Consumer and Food Sciences at the University of Pretoria, South Africa now in a post-retirement position. She is recognised academically as a researcher and expert in the field of Food and Hospitality related consumer behaviour.  Her specialty area of interest is Food Tourism and the use of Local foods in culinary mapping. Her current involvement with postgraduate students focuses on consumer food practices and behaviour, culinary practices, innovative culinary product and recipe development, and food tourism. She is also affiliated with WFTA as the Academy director.