Raul Matta

University of Göttingen
Paris IAS
Social Anthropology
10 months

Research interests: Anthropology of Food, Food Studies, Critical Heritage Studies, Cultural Analysis, Urban Studies, Sustainability, Conviviality

Research Project

Culinary Sustainability: Culinary workers as drivers for a sustainable future

Food and the socio-economic issues surrounding it comprise the ultimate challenge for the sustainable future of the planet. Food is central to several of the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) and figures into four of the EU’s six research priorities. This project probes into the UN and European policy debates on sustainable food and adds the underexplored perspectives of culinary workers themselves. Whereas the linkages between food and sustainability are evident, those between sustainability and culinary practice have been at the margins, even though culinary practice is instrumental if we are to achieve the SDGs.

This research explores the forces of different social and cultural realities and comprehends the complex and interdependent events taking place at the interface between sustainability, culinary workers and practices, and policy-making. It brings sustainability and professional cooking together as a critically relevant interdisciplinary area of research and application, where culinary workers are central drivers in the transformation of the food sector and in its potential enactment of sustainability measures.

This research ultimately aims at: 1) capturing a spectrum of visions for sustainable futures based on promising examples of culinary local initiatives and co-create sustainability narratives that resonate in, and are empowering for, the culinary sector, and 2) providing the basis for a novel theoretical framework for analysing the multidimensional ways in which sustainability and culinary practice intersect, tested through interactions with researchers, culinary workers and stakeholders.


Raul Matta is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Cultural Anthropology/European Ethnology, University of Göttingen. He conducts research at the intersection of the anthropology of food, cultural heritage and cultural studies, with an emphasis on the cultural, social and political uses of food and cooking by different actors and stakeholders. He has held research and teaching appointments in France, Germany and Malaysia and conducted fieldwork in Peru, Mexico, Germany and Malaysia. He has directed and held leading roles in research projects funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), the French National Research Agency (ANR), and the HERA JRP/ Horizon 2020. His work has been published in journals such as Social Anthropology, the Sociological Review, the International Journal of Cultural PropertyFood and Foodways and in several edited volumes.