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Paragon by Modern Adventure designs immersive culinary and cultural explorations – courtesy of Modern Adventure


Food is increasingly becoming the focal point of the travel experience as consumers prioritise new destinations and experiences that bring them closer to the local history and culture of an area.


In fact, culinary tourism is forecast to grow at a CAGR of almost 17% from 2022 to 2032, rivalling global wellness tourism which is expected to see an annual growth rate of almost 21% in 2020-25.


Research from the University of Oxford has long shown that communal eating boosts social bonding, wellbeing, and contentedness, helping people feel happier, more satisfied with their lives and closer to their community.


And now on a local level, it is clear small, local food enterprises and community-scale supply chains play an essential role in increasing the resilience of domestic food systems and public health overall, with the GFS-FSR (The Resilience of the UK Food System in a Global Context) research programme recommending greater investment in community-scale food providers.


As the cost of living crisis deepens, food is also being leveraged to alleviate some of its impact and bring people together, with social enterprises, like Cook for Good, setting up community hubs and pantries stocked with surplus food, and employers, like John Lewis and Waitrose, opting to provide free meals to employees across its entire operation this Christmas.

DELLI promotes independent, grassroot makers and batch products, like Two Hot Asian’s hot sauces – courtesy of DELLI


F&B concepts are creating spaces and experiences that actively encourage guests to connect with others, providing a credible window into the stories and culture they are championing.


London-based Mriya showcases Ukraine’s classic and contemporary food, drink, and art, with the aim to become a ‘cultural embassy’ of their home in the UK.


Dinner Party in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, is a neighbourhood restaurant and a queer creative community hub. The living room inspired space mostly consists of communal tables, encouraging guests to talk to strangers and meet other locals following the isolation of the pandemic. Dept of Culture, Brooklyn, offers a Nigerian tasting menu inspired by the owner Ayo Balogun’s native Kwara State and is accompanied by stories about the origin of the dishes around a single communal table for 12 guests.


Raising £6 million in its latest funding round, DELLI is a marketplace for local, independent makers that celebrates creativity and experimentation through limited batch product drops with the grassroot producers and their stories behind the products an integral part of the sell. 


Paragon by Modern Adventure creates luxurious culinary travel experiences for small groups. Each trip is designed and led by a ‘cultural luminary’ and offers an in-depth exploration of the local culture and culinary traditions. This includes private dining at exclusive restaurants, behind-the-scenes tours of cultural and culinary institutions, and the meeting of artists and craftspeople. A proportion of the revenue from each trip is donated to local causes and organisations selected by the luminaries as a way of safeguarding those communities in the future.

Tatale at The Africa Centre showcases African cuisine to ‘tell stories through food, art & culture’ – courtesy of Felix Speller


Food enterprises and hospitality brands are designing spaces and experiences that help their audiences connect with each other, while also creating opportunities for local communities.


When converting a vacant supermarket into Nourish Hub, a community kitchen and mixed-used work and educational space for UK Harvest, RCKa ran a series of pop-up activities as part of its public consultation process which would raise awareness of the project and instil a sense of collective ownership.


The process saw local adults and children participating in painting murals, creating graphic designs for interiors and branding, and sharing ideas for the future use of the space. The project won multiple awards for its role in bringing its local community together and fighting social isolation, successfully creating an endearing space that works for the end-user.


Design can also elevate communities and cultures through a contemporary and considered reinterpretation.


Recently re-opened, The Africa Centre in London celebrates pan-African culture and community and features a new restaurant by former supper club Tatale led by chef Akwasi Brenya-Mensa. In line with Akwasi’s culinary vision, the design process brought together African artists and designers, resulting in the raw and expressive interiors which tell a tale of African craft and futurism.

October 2022

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