Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design


Human Nutrion and Foods

Committee Chair

Hodjat Ghadimi

Committee Co-Chair

William Plyler

Committee Member

Peter Schaeffer


This thesis is comprised of three essays that explore the aesthetics of food in contemporary food and table setting design. The essays are: (1) Aesthetics of Food (2) Food Design (3) Table Setting Design.;Food is an everyday necessity. With advancements in production and a plentiful supply in developed countries, the preparation of food and its consumption has developed socially and artistically. There is increased emphasis being placed on how to make and present food in nontraditional ways to enhance aesthetic appeal. Yet, there is not consensus about the aesthetic dimensions of food. The viewpoint that food should be considered a source of aesthetics in our daily lives is becoming more accepted, and the literature in support of this notion is increasing. Food design is seen as essential to creating positive emotions and meaningful memories surrounding the aesthetics, pleasure and satisfaction of food experiences. The importance of food design transcends the food industry, being of particular importance to the worldwide tourism industry. Based on the literature, it appears that a more developed understanding of food design enables both the home cook and the professional chef to provide more meaningful dining experiences. Food styling, a component of food design, remains controversial. Despite such controversies, content and appearance can be balanced relative to one another, thus food styling remains an important and essential element of food design. The dining area is considered by many families throughout the world to be the most important area of the home, with the meal table playing a central role in family life, socialization and entertaining friends and extended family members. Families often expend significant resources in purchasing a table and associated tableware. The concept of table design goes beyond simply the architectural style of the table itself, to include all of the design elements a host utilizes on the table surface in order to create a satisfying and engaging meal experience. Table design can be considered a holistic form of art by the host who takes into account not only choice of table, but also uses standards and best practices to make numerous detail-oriented decisions, such as style of tablecloth, types of dinnerware, serveware and stemware, and overall table surface organization.;In summary, popular culture and anecdotal evidence suggest that there is significant value to the aesthetics of food. However, much of the academic literature seems to focus on the economic value of food production, population, the restaurant industry, and tourism. An examination of the literature related to food aesthetics and design, culture, and tradition supports the premise that food aesthetics may impact people's food choices and supports the need for further study.