Meet Chieri Higa: our Japan correspondent

“Food and design is often confused with ‘food design’.”

Chieri Higa was born and raised in the US and Austria. She is a graduate of Design Academy Eindhoven’s Food Non Food department and is currently working on a cookbook with her grandmother about the evolution of Okinawan food. We are happy to have her be our correspondent for all things food and design in Japan.

How would you describe Food & Design and why does it interest you?

The field of food and design is a combination of speculative and current thinking on food perceptions, culture, and systems. It urges people to think differently about the things that they put inside their mouths every day.

Food is the one thing that everyone has in common. It is one thing that everybody can talk about, because it shapes the daily lives of every person on this planet. Design is also working to shape the lives of people on this planet. In this way, I feel that food and design, when put together, form an incredibly accessible and powerful form of design.

Food and design is often confused with ‘food design’.

What misconceptions about food and design would you like to oppose?  

Food and design is often confused with ‘food design’, which I would describe as creating fantastic, showy ways of presenting food for a high-class audience.

Chieri Higa's graduation project "Feed the Flesh: Food Guilt in Four Acts"

Sketch by Chieri Higa for "Me and Chef Watson"

Do you think designers working with food need to address political and social issues?

Yes. Food embodies so many political and social issues, which makes it a powerful tool to convey ideas on these issues.  It is the responsibility of a designer working with food to address political and social issues, and the nature of working with food often causes this to happen naturally.


Can you tell us about the developments in food and design in your correspondent area?  

The Japanese consumer is acutely aware of detail. This comes across in companies’ advertisements of products. Wellness brands targeting an aged population tout the number of milligrams of collagen (to aid joint pain) in their products compared to other brands, for example. Different powders, pills, and yogurts contain different strains of lactobacillus bacteria and the commercials advertising them make a point of telling you which area of your digestive system you will be taking care of (stomach, small intestine, large intestine).


Read more about Chieri on her:

Instagram: @annals_of_food