New Anatolian Cuisine: Legitimizing a Culinary Movement

Sophie Marie Cappelen

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis examines how the emerging culinary movement New Anatolian Cuisine has managed to develop as a new player in the culinary field. Furthermore, the study investigates the processes, practices, and mechanism that have enabled the up-and-coming Turkish movement to gain legitimacy. The goal is to explore and highlight the structural similarities between New Anatolian Cuisine and previous established culinary movements such as Classical Cuisine, Nouvelle Cuisine, Slow Food, Molecular Cuisine, and New Nordic Cuisine. Findings are largely based on a fieldwork conducted over a two-week period in Istanbul, and is analysed through the theoretical perspectives of new institutional theory and identity theory. Literature suggests that institutional actors reproduce and adapt to established standards, rules, myths, and norms in a given field, to secure legitimacy. Moreover, actors have to balance conformity and distinctiveness in relation to other field-members, through practices of institutional bricolage and identity work. The results demonstrate that the members of the New Anatolian movement, both consciously and unconsciously, adapt to established standards in order to gain legitimacy These actions relate to the movement’s purpose and boundaries, innovation and label practices, democratization and contestation, diffusion and control, as well as network and collaboration processes. The structural resemblance between New Anatolian Cuisine and previous movements, suggests that the way in which culinary movements develop, are highly constrained and dependent on institutional forces. Furthermore, findings reveal an untapped potential for collaboration among the movement’s members, which may promote the level of legitimacy. The conclusion contends that while New Anatolian Cuisine has been able to rapidly emerge as a culinary movement, its current influence is primarily limited to the local field. The movement’s present and future role in the global field is thus still uncertain. The future ability to attain international legitimacy will be dependent on the movement’s members’ capacity to collaborate, and the continued effort to mobilize the movement’s collective identity by telling coherent stories with a unified voice.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2015
Number of pages98