blackbox Seminar Series

Fake It When You Make It:Authenticity Strategies and Ethnoracial Inequality in American Fine Dining


  • Apr. 4, 2023
  • 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
  • In Person Event
  • Gillian Gualtieri from Barnard College
Gillian Gualtieri headshot

As creative workers advocate for increased attention to concerns around diversity, equity, and inclusion in their work, producers, critics, and consumers in these industries have navigated new challenges to attend to systems of racial inequality and devaluation. In this talk, Gillian Gualtieri of Barnard College uses the case of American fine dining to attend to the ways in which the ethnoracial categories of both producers and their products in interaction shape how chefs and critics understand their value. Gillian focuses on one form of evaluative criteria—the elusive concept of authenticity—and show how chefs who have different relationships to whiteness and who cook products that are categorically associated or dissociated with whiteness enact distinct authenticity strategies to explain their creative work. She introduces the framework of producer/product (mis)match and then present a typology of six authenticity strategies that uniquely enable and constrain chefs’ and restaurants’ value depending on the categorical match or mismatch of chefs and their products and those categories’ racialized associations with whiteness.

    The DI is now part of the Digital, Data, and Design (D^3) Institute at Harvard. Read more about this change..