In 2022, labor zoomed into focus as we collectively adjusted to the shared reality of living within an endemic. Although ideas around “the future of work” have dominated headlines, as MOLD contributor Adrianna Gallo writes, food and its traditions have always been the outcome of complex and interconnected labor systems. We’ve selected a few stories that we’ve published this last year that explore how labor informs the intersections of food and design and why building an understanding of its conditions is essential to building a more equitable and accessible food future.
WHY HAVE THERE BEEN NO GREAT WORKER-OWNED RESTAURANTS? – Dani Dillon
In one of our most-read stories of the year, Dani Dillon dives into the machinations of worker cooperatives, asking “Why aren’t there more worker-owned restaurants?” Dani speaks with workers from worker-owned restaurants and cafes across the country, surveying how the worker-owner model might serve as a template for a more equitable and sustainable future in the restaurant industry.
TOWARDS TRUE HOSPITALITY – Hiba Zubari
For people with different abilities, the hospitality industry continues to perpetuate a cycle of exclusion. In her piece for MOLD’s Work in Progress series, Hiba Zubari interviews Aleem Syed, the chef and owner of Toronto-based food truck Holy Grill. Aleem explains the structural barriers he experienced as a chef after being paralyzed from the waist down in 2008, and expands on how design can be used to create workplaces that are truly inclusive.
ECOLOGIES OF LABOR IN PASTA – Adrianna Gallo
Adrianna Gallo weaves together her research on Italian pasta traditions with political theory for an illuminating essay that meditates on the complex and interconnected food systems that feed into food and our habits of consumption. The piece features sculptural works and a recipe for eggless pasta, illustrating Adrianna’s concept of (re)production, which accounts for the knowledge transfer, expression, myth, and collective material culture contained within our food.
LINE COOKS AS DESIGNERS – Katerina Liakos
The kitchen is the site of a collective process—line cooks are responsible for carrying out the execution of a chef’s vision, but they must bring their own creativity and strategy. Katerina Liakos speaks with line cooks from restaurants across the world like The Four Horsemen and Fortnum & Mason to delve into how line cooks, who are constantly reconfiguring their workplace to time and recipe, act as designers.