What does data taste like?
It’s probably not a question that’s crossed your mind, but data visualization experts Susanne Jaschko and Moritz Stefaner decided to ask — and answer — the question as a way to make their field more personal, emotional and relevant.
Imagine a fish stew whose ingredients reflect the data about local fishing, a pizza topped to represent the population mix of Helsinki, or a selection of chocolates whose fillings represent the various causes of death for a population.
These are just some of the many beautiful and delicious data visualizations that have come out of the Data Cuisine workshops held by Jaschko and Stefaner. Participants are provided with access to local data and asked to choose data that has some personal meaning or relevance to them. They then use a state-of-the-art kitchen to create edible visualizations of that data, with help and tips from a professional chef.
The results are beautiful, delicious, and thought provoking.
Of course, food is a much less precise medium than a printed chart or graph for visuals, so where is the real benefit? Stefaner says that what the medium lacks in precision, it makes up for in depth. “Food is a much richer and more multi-faceted medium than visuals can ever be. In addition to anything you can do with graphics (i.e. express data through shapes, colors, forms…), with food, you can also go 3D, play with taste, texture, temperature, all the cultural connotations around a dish or ingredient.”