Food Design Institute

The Food Design Institute at Otago Polytechnic is home to the Bachelor of Culinary Arts, New Zealand’s first culinary arts degree. We are also the first in the world to use design to teach culinary arts.

Food Design Header

If you’re food-savvy, innovative and ambitious, and look for a place to test your creativity with food, you’re at the right place. We’ll equip you with skills that will allow you to think on your feet and adjust to consumer-driven trends – vital in the rapidly evolving world of culinary design.

What is food design?

Food design is a wide-ranging concept that includes the use of design thinking principles in the production and delivery of food and beverage experiences. Food design could lead to a career as a chef, artisan food producer, food writer, teacher, entrepreneur, promoter and much more!

Our students get to embrace and explore the concept of multi-sensory food design. Our award-winning staff teach the fundamentals of food preparation interwoven with progressive design techniques. We teach students to transform traditional dishes into modern culinary masterpieces and to create bespoke food experiences to inspire and delight.

Bachelor of Culinary Arts (food design qualification)

Our Bachelor of Culinary Arts is a world-leading degree shaping New Zealand’s food culture. This programme will provide you with the hands-on experience to learn specialised and innovative culinary techniques with a competitive edge. You’ll learn to apply design principles in the production and delivery of excellent culinary experiences.

The learning process

  1. Explore
    Explore the world of food through its technical, sensory, and scientific applications
  2. Experiment
    Experiment with your ideas to create new food offerings.
  3. Experience
    Make and deliver food to consumers within real-world contexts.

Here, you learn by doing

We’re all about providing real-world experiences to our students. Throughout your programme of study, you’ll have a lots of opportunities to learn and test your skills in real kitchens. While in a safe and understanding environment, with support for your teachers, you’ll get exposure to the pressured environment of food service with real customers.

Our on-campus, student-led food services are offered to staff and the public:

  • Manaaki restaurant: Located on Harbour Terrace, Manaaki offers a diverse menu, excellent service and a cosy, ambient environment for lunchtime and evening dining.
  • Food truck: Our Bachelor of Culinary Arts students provide inspired food experiences during the warmer seasons! From tacos, nachos, Korean noodles to Chinese buns to challenge your taste buds!
  • Eden Markets: In conjunction with the weekly Eden markets, students within the Eden Incubator design food experiences for external clients. This allows students to take a real-world approach to their studies, while being mentored by industry professionals.
  • AKO Café: This is where our students gain the valuable skills needed for front line service in the café and bar sector.

The After Dark event, for the brave

The brief was to create an experiential event and our Culinary Arts students sure did deliver. They created an atmosphere at the Otago Museum that was hard to shake!

Research stories to inspire

Research stories to inspire

We encourage applied research to support teaching and community needs, available to all.

Contact us

If you want to know more about what we offer or you would like some guidance, we’re here to help. Feel free to chat to us directly about any questions you may have.