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Buckinghamshire New University is supporting research by design company Michel / Fabian exploring how the design of tableware can affect people's perception of food and flavour.
The University has provided a grant of just under £5,000 to support the research into how cutlery can affect the flavour of food in radical ways, improving the pleasure of eating and changing consumption behaviours.
Dr Andreas Fabian, of Bucks New University, who has a PhD in 'Spoons and Spoonness', and is one of the Michel / Fabian experts, said: "Food is one of the richest multi-sensory experiences and defines our health and wellbeing, but also our relationship to others. Some of our most delicious and memorable food experiences often come from eating without cutlery.
"Eating with our bare hands, sucking our fingers, or even licking a plate are natural behaviours. Michel / Fabian creates objects that connect us with intuitive and elegant ways of bringing food to the mouth."
Michel / Fabian, which aims to rethink people's relationship with food by designing eating utensils inspired by science and art, comprises Dr Fabian; Charles Michel, an artist and scientist of food and former Michelin-star chef; and Daniel Ospina, an innovation expert who has designed food for the European Space Agency (ESA).
Dr Fabian added: "Michel / Fabian uses experimental psychology research to design eating utensils that hack the senses, increasing the sensual pleasure of eating and encouraging people to eat more healthily."
The company is working with Professor Charles Spence of Crossmodal Research Laboratory at the University of Oxford, and Institut Paul Bocuse, a prestigious cookery school based in Lyon, France.
Mr Michel said: "Conventional cutlery is a technology we put in our mouths every day, and currently it is only designed with functional purposes. We want to offer eating utensils that enrich the sensual pleasures of eating."
Michel / Fabian is the first cutlery brand using insights from gastrophysics science to design cutlery and "Goûte", the first spoon-like product on the market, is designed to emulate the pleasure of licking fingers, to enhance the pleasure of eating creamy foods.
Work by Michel / Fabian has been showcased at the V&A Museum, the Science Museum, Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry, New Scientist Live, and Food Matters Live at ExCeL London. More information on the team and artisans at www.michelfabian.com.Picture captions: Goûte, the first spoon-like product on the market; and Dr Andreas Fabian, of Bucks New University.