Takeaways from THE DESIGNER AND CHEF 2.0
A Panel by The American Institute of Architects SF on March 31, 2015
A panel of San Francisco Designer and chef teams discussed the conception of restaurants they created together. The conversation centered on the chef/designer relationship and the design process of uniting design concept with cuisine to realize a restaurant. As a designer working with chefs and restaurant owners, a few comments struck me as helpful in an effort to improve the relationship.
3 takeaways to improve designer and chef relationship
Designers and chefs aren't so different. Bryan Southwick of CCS Architecture mentioned a shared passion for our craft and dedication to create an authentic experience that everyone will enjoy including our peers. The restaurant is where design meets food uniting the collective visions of two artists. Both chef and designer improve their execution over time to produce unique dishes and spaces. Understanding our similarities establishes mutual respect and enhances the depth and quality of the relationship.
D and C teams collaborate well together when the fit is right. Chef David Lawrence of 1300 on Fillmore mentioned that he wanted to ensure that he and the designer were speaking the same language. Essentially, the designer understands your ideas and can help you realize your vision. Jim Zack of Zack / De Vito Architecture advised designers to "design the experience". I couldn't agree more - the designer should be a stakeholder in the success of the restaurant dedicated to creating the right atmosphere for guests.
The success of a restaurant is about the entire experience but the chef and his staff are there day to day. So, designers should pay close attention to functional requirements provided by the chef to ensure that the layout facilitates operations. Likewise, a chef should be receptive to the recommendations of the designer to ensure the space is cohesive and meets code requirements.
Ultimately, the key to a successful designer and chef team is in the relationship itself. The right team collaborating with passion throughout the design process is a recipe for a successful and well-designed restaurant.