Creativity and innovation in haute cuisine restaurants: factors affecting the creative process of Michelin-rated chefs


  • Tindara Abbate
  • Angelo Presenza
  • Fabrizio Cesaroni
  • Marta Meleddu
  • Lorn Sheehan



chef; creativity; haute cuisine; innovation; Michelin guide; restaurants


Purpose of the paper: Creativity and innovation in haute cuisine restaurants are being explored. The paper seeks to understand what factors influence the creative process in culinary activities.

Methodology: The exploratory analysis has been conducted by using a Principal Component Analysis (PCA) based on primary data obtained from a survey of 132 Italian Michelin stared Chefs.

Findings: Three key factors were found to stimulate creativity. The within-individual factor reflects the chef’s personal inclination for creativity. The second factor consists of external sources beyond the individual chef that can significantly enhance or constrain creativity. Lastly, an important practical factor encompasses contextual components, such as the need to consider financial sustainability and cost control.

Research limits: The paper is focused on the Italian context and caution has to be used when generalizing the results of the study to different contexts. The research has an exploratory nature. Findings have to be confirmed by further analyses.

Practical implications: The paper concludes with a suggested set of management capabilities to support the success of efforts that transform novel ideas into new and desirable culinary experiences for competitive positioning of haute cuisine restaurants.

Originality of the paper: The first results of a work-in progress research help understanding how the approach to creativity influences the development of culinary innovations, which ultimately lead to the financial performance of restaurants.



ALBORS-GARRIGOS J., BARRETO, V., GARCÍA-SEGOVIA P., MARTÍNEZ-MONZÓ J., HERVÁS-OLIVER J.L. (2013), “Creativity and innovation patterns of haute cuisine chefs”, Journal of Culinary Science and Technology, vol. 11, n. 1, pp. 19-35.

ALBORS-GARRIGÓS J., MARTINEZ MONZO J., GARCIA-SEGOVIA P. (2018), “Knowledge dynamics as drivers of innovation in Haute Cuisine and culinary services”, Industry and Innovation, vol. 25, n. 1, pp. 84-111.

AL-OSAIL A.M., AL-SHEIKH M.H., AL-OSAIL E.M., AL-GHAMDI M.A., AL-HAWAS A.M., AL-BAHUSSAIN A.S., AL-DAJANI A.A. (2015), “is Cronbach’s alpha sufficient for assessing the reliability of the OSCE for an internal medicine course?”, Bio Medical Center Research Notes, vol. 8 n. 582, pp. 1-6.

AMABILE T.M. (1983), “Social psychology of creativity: A componential conceptualization”, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, vol. 45, n. 2, pp. 997-1013.

AMABILE T.M. (1988), “A model of creativity and innovation in organizations”, Research in Organizational Behavior, vol. 10, n. 1, pp. 123-167.

AMABILE T.M. (1996), Creativity in context, Westview Press, Boulder, CO.

ARBOLEYA J.C., OLABARRIETA I., ADURIZ A.L., LASA D., VERGARA J., SANMARTÍN E., ITURRIAGA L., DUCH A., MARTÍNEZ DE MARAÑÓN I. (2008), “From the Chef ‘s Mind to the Dish: How Scientific Approaches Facilitate the Creative Process”, Food Biophysics, vol. 3, n. 2, pp. 261-268.

BALAZS K. (2002), “Take One Entrepreneur: The Recipe for Success of France’s Great Chefs”, European Management Journal, vol. 20, n. 3, pp. 247-259.

BOCKELMANN L., BRAUN A. (2014), An Individual Perspective on Open Innovation Capabilities in the Context of Haute Cuisine, Paper presented at the Druid Society Conference, 16-18 June, Copenhagen. Retrieved March 2, 2016, from

BOUTY I., GOMEZ M.L. (2013), “Creativity in Haute Cuisine: Strategic Knowledge and Practice in Gourmet Kitchens”, Journal of Culinary Science and Technology, vol. 11, n. 1, pp. 80-95.

BRAUN A., IHL C. (2013), The mixed blessing of openness in creative industries? The case of European chefs de cuisine, Paper presented at the Druid Society Conference, 17-19 June, Barcelona. Retrieved March 2, 2017, from

CAPDEVILA I., COHENDET P., SIMON L. (2015), “Establishing New Codes for Creativity through Haute Cuisine”, Technology Innovation Management Review, vol. 5, n. 7, pp. 36-44.

COHENDET P., SIMON L. (2015), “Introduction to the Special Issue on Creativity in Innovation”, Technology Innovation Management Review, vol. 4, n. 7, pp. 5-13.

CUMMINGS A., OLDHAM G.R. (1997), “Enhancing creativity: Managing work contexts for the high potential employee”, California Management Review, vol. 40, n. 1, pp. 22-38.

DAMANPOUR F. (1987), “The Adoption of Technological, Administrative, and Ancillary Innovations: Impact of Organization Factors”, Journal of Management, vol. 13, pp. 675-88.

DEFILLIPPI R., GRABHER G., JONES C. (2007), “Introduction to Paradoxes of Creativity: Managerial and Organizational Challenges in the Cultural Economy”, Journal of Organizational Behavior, vol. 28, pp. 511-521.

DCMS (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) (2001), Creative Industries Mapping Document 2001 Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Retrieved March 2, 2017, from

DI STEFANO G., KING A.A., VERONA G. (2015), “Sanctioning in the wild: rational calculus and retributive instincts in gourmet cuisine”, Academy of Management Journal, vol. 58, n. 3, pp. 906-931.

DURAND R., RAO H., MONIN P. (2007), “Code and Conduct in French Cuisine: Impact of Code Changes on External Evaluations”, Strategic Management Journal, vol. 28, n. 5, pp. 455-472.

ESCOFFIER B., PAGES J. (1988), Analyses factorielles simples et multiples. Objectifs, méthodes et interprétation, Dunod, Paris.

FAUCHART E., VON HIPPEL E. (2008), “Norms-based Intellectual Property Systems: The Case of French Chefs”, Organization Science, vol. 19, n. 2, pp. 187-201.

FAUCHART E., VON HIPPEL E. (2006), Norms-based intellectual property systems: the case of French chefs. MIT Sloan School of Management, Working Paper 4576-06. Retrieved March 2, 2017, from

GEORGE J.M. (2007), “Creativity in organization”, Academy of Management Annals, vol. 1, n. 1, pp. 439-477.

GOMEZ M.L., BOUTY I., DRUCKER-GODARD C. (2003), “Developing knowing in practice: Behind the scenes of haute cuisine”, in Nicolini D., Gherardi S., Yanow D. (Eds.), Knowing in organizations: A practice based approach (pp. 100-125), ME Sharpe, New York.

GOMEZ M.L., BOUTY I. (2009), “Unpacking Knowing Integration: A Practice-based Study in Haute Cuisine”, ESSEC Working paper, Retrieved March 2, 2017, from

GOMEZ M.L., BOUTY I. (2011), “The emergence of an influential practice: food for thought”, Organization Studies, vol. 32, n. 7, pp. 921-940.

HAIR J.F., ANDERSON R.E., TATHAM R.L. (1989), Multivariate Data Analysis, MacMillan Publishing Company, New York.

HARRINGTON R.J. (2004), “Part I: The Culinary Innovation Process, a barrier to imitation”, Journal of Foodservice Business Research, vol. 7, n. 3, pp. 35-57.

KAISER H. F. (1974), “An index of factorial simplicity”, Psychometrika, vol. 39, n. 1, pp. 31-36.

LAMPEL J., LANT T., SHAMSIE J. (2000), “Balancing Act: Learning from Organizational Practices in Cultural Industries”, Organization Science, vol. 11, n. 3, pp. 263-269.

LANE C., LUP D. (2014), “Cooking under Fire: Managing Creativity and Innovation in Haute Cuisine”, Paper presented at the Druid Society Conference, 16-18 June, Copenhagen. Retrieved March 2, 2017, from

MESSENI-PETRUZELLI A., SAVINO T. (2014), “Search, Recombination, and Innovation: Lessons from Haute Cuisine”, Long Range Planning, vol. 47, n. 4, pp. 224-238.

MESSENI-PETRUZZELLI A., SAVINO T. (2015), “Reinterpreting tradition to innovate: the case of Italian haute cuisine”, Industry and Innovation, vol. 22, n. 8, pp. 677-702.

NIKRAVAN L. (2012), “Why creativity is the most important leadership quality. Chief Learning Officer”, Retrieved March 2, 2017, from

OTTENBACHER M.C., HARRINGTON R.J. (2007), “The Innovation Development Process of Michelin-Starred Chefs”, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 19, n. 6, pp. 444-460.

OTTENBACHER M.C., HARRINGTON R.J. (2010), “Strategies for achieving success for innovative versus incremental new services”, Journal of Services Marketing, vol. 24, n. 1, pp. 3-15.

PARIS T., LANG G. (2015), “Managing Collective Processes in the Creative Industries: Insight from Perfumery and Haute Cuisine”, Global Business and Organizational Excellence, vol. 35, n. 1, pp. 67-76.

PEDERSEN L.B. (2012), Creativity in Gastronomy. Exploring the connection between art and craft, Copenhagen Business School, Copenhagen.

PRESENZA A., ABBATE T., VARGAS-SÁNCHEZ A., HARRISON T. (2016), “Creativity and Innovation: The Case of Haute Cuisine”, International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management, DOI: 10.1504/IJEIM.2016.10001114

PRESENZA A., ABBATE T., CASALI G.L., PERANO M. (2017), “An innovative approach to the intellectual property in haute cuisine”, International Journal of Hospitality Management, vol. 65, pp. 81-88.

RAO H., MONIN P., DURAND R. (2003), “Institutional Change in Toque Ville: Nouvelle Cuisine as an Identity Movement in French Gastronomy”, American Journal of Sociology, vol. 108, n. 4, 795-843.

RICHARDS R. (2007), “Everyday creativity: Our hidden potential”, in R. Richards (ed.), Everyday creativity and new views of human nature (pp. 25-54), American Psychological Association, Washington, DC.

SHALLEY E.C., ZHOU J., OLDHAM G.R. (2004), “The Effects of Personal and Contextual Characteristics on Creativity: Where Should We Go from Here?”, Journal of Management, vol. 30, n. 6, pp. 933-958.

SLAVICH B., CAPPETTA R., SALVEMINI S. (2014), “Creativity and the Reproduction of Cultural Products: The Experience of Italian Haute Cuisine Chefs”, International Journal of Arts Management, vol. 16, n. 2, pp. 29-41.

SIMONTON D.K. (1997), “Creative productivity: A predictive and explanatory model of career trajectories and landmarks”, Psychological Review, vol. 104, pp. 66-89.

STERNBERG R.J. (2007), “Creativity as a habit”, in Ai-Girl Tan (Ed.), Creativity A handbook for teachers (pp. 3-25), World Scientific Publishing, Singapore.

STIERAND M., DÖRFLER V. (2012), “Reflecting on a phenomenological study of creativity and innovation in haute cuisine”, International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 24, n. 6, pp. 946-957.

STIERAND M., LYNCH P. (2008), “The Art of Culinary Innovations”, Tourism and Hospitality Research, vol. 8, n. 4, pp. 337-350.

STIERAND M., BOJE D., FEULS M., HALEY U., DÖRFLER V. (2016), “Towards a theory of organizational constraints on entrepreneurship, play, and creativity”, Paper presented at BAM 2016, Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom.

SURLEMONT B., JOHNSON C. (2005), “The role of guides in artistic industries: The special case of the “star system” in the haute‐cuisine sector”, Managing Service Quality: an International Journal, vol. 15, n. 6, pp. 577-590.

SVEJENOVA S., MAZZA C., PLANELLAS M. (2007), Cooking Up Change in Haute Cuisine: Ferran Adrià as an Institutional Entrepreneur”, Journal of Organizational Behavior, vol. 28, n. 5, pp. 539-561.

SVEJENOVA S., PLANELLAS M., VIVES L. (2010), “An Individual Business Model in the Making: a Chef’s Quest for Creative Freedom”, Long Range Planning, vol. 43, pp. 408-430.

SVEJENOVA S., SLAVICH B., ABDEL-GAWAD S. (2013), “Business models of creative entrepreneurs, the case of haute cuisine chefs”, in Jones C., Lorenzen M., Sapsed J. (Eds.), Handbook of Creative Industries (pp. 1-13). Oxford University Press, Oxford.

VARGAS-SANCHEZ A., LOPEZ-GUZMAN T. (2015), “Contemporary management and innovation: Learning from the gastronomy sector”, Journal of Food, Agriculture and Environment, vol. 13, n. 1, pp. 132-138.

WOODWARD K., STIERAND M. (2014), “Stars war: Conflicts between chefs and restaurant guides”, in Pantelidis I. (Ed.), The Handbook of Hospitality (pp. 227-236), Sage, London.