1st Edition

Culinary Man and the Kitchen Brigade Normative Subjectivity in Western Fine Dining Traditions

By Jordan Fallon Copyright 2025
    258 Pages
    by Routledge

    Culinary Man and the Kitchen Brigade offers an exploration of the field of normative subjectivity circulated within western fine dining traditions, presenting a theoretical analysis of the governing relationship between the chef, who embodies the Culinary Man, and the fine dining brigade.

    The book offers a unique treatment of western haute cuisine’s interlocking regime of labor and aesthetics and theorizes the underexplored kitchen brigade as a model of disciplinary formation. It deploys a heterogeneous set of disciplinary discourses and practices which have the effect of consolidating monopolies on epistemic authority and governance. Each position within the brigade’s hierarchy is subject to distinct, though related, disciplinary practices. Thus, chapters identify the specific practices pertinent to each brigade subject, while also illuminating how they fit together as a coherent hegemonic project. The application of Wynterian and Foucauldian insight to the fine dining brigade offers a political theory of culinary work which departs from other food studies texts. Notably, this work offers an in-depth treatment of the brigade’s colonial dimensions which resonate with emerging critiques, scholarly and general, of the race and gender politics of restaurant labor. The concluding chapters seek to identify where extant modes of resistance or alternative forms of culinary organization may hold the potential to move beyond the hegemonic overrepresentation of Culinary Man.

    This book will be of great interest to students and scholars from across the social sciences and humanities interested in critical food studies, political and cultural theory and popular culinary culture.

    Introduction: Mapping Culinary Man 

    1. The Dishwasher: Steppingstones and Terminal Points  

    2. Everything in Place: The Prep Cook’s Organizational Discipline  

    3. Line Cooks: The Phenomenology of Culinary Soldiers  

    4. The Chef: From Culinary Man1 to Culinary Man2  

    5. Challenging Hegemony? Culinary Man 3 and Vibration Cooking  

    Conclusion: Beyond Culinary Man  


    Jordan Fallon is an adjunct instructor at Virginia Tech and co-founder of Ursula’s Café in Roanoke, Virginia.