Together, food and media have long been a means by which people communicate, perform their identities, and express their values. This article focuses on how contemporary culinary work is influenced by the new mediascape, a channel of convergence through which we understand, enjoy, and participate in our food worlds. As new media proliferates and access to interactive and creative tools expands, content generation and ownership has transferred from the hands of a small population of professionals into the fast fingers of amateurs and expert producers across the globe—effectively transforming who mediates and how we mediate. Consumers now double as mediamakers; often called co-creators, or prosumers, these new forms of interactive mediation influence labor practices and professional identities across industries. In the food world, this transition has been spurred onward by food TV and chef celebrity changing the expectations we hold for our chefs and their restaurants. By drawing from the everyday experiences of people embedded within these food and media networks and integrating transdisciplinary theory, this article demonstrates a promising approach to understanding our food futures.
The New Mediascape and Contemporary American Food Culture
Leigh Chavez Bush earned her PhD from Indiana University's Food Studies program, where she researched the effects of new media on the culinary industry. She participated in wine, dairy, and meat production in Europe and the United States before doing her ethnographic research in Chicago, where she worked in the restaurant industry and at a food media startup. Leigh was graduate fellow at the IU Food Institute and Editorial fellow at the exploration-based digital media company, Atlas Obscura / Gastro Obscura. She hosted the wine documentary Hoosier Hospitality: Wine and guest-hosts WFIU's syndicated food radio program Earth Eats.
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Leigh Chavez Bush; The New Mediascape and Contemporary American Food Culture. Gastronomica 1 May 2019; 19 (2): 16–28. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/gfc.2019.19.2.16
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