Explore food culture, history and creativity
An annual gathering to share, explore, and celebrate food research from across the world
Unlike conventional conferences, the Oxford Food Symposium is fiercely independent and open to all, with no academic qualifications required. We meet every year over a July weekend at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford (fondly known as St Catz). A new topic is chosen each year by popular vote, alternating between material and abstract themes. Papers are invited and those selected are presented at the Symposium, before being refined, edited, and published in the Proceedings.
We warmly encourage dialogue between presenters and audience, many of whom share a deep knowledge of food and cookery. New friendships are forged at our famously convivial meals, curated by chefs including Raymond Blanc, Fergus Henderson and Asma Khan. You could easily find yourself breaking bread with keynote speakers such as Harold McGee, Claudia Roden or Simon Schama.
An open, friendly, and liberating community
We welcome delegates from across the world and from all walks of life. Anyone can become a symposiast: all you need is a love of food and a curiosity about where food can lead us. Whether you’d like to give a paper, share your stories, or just mingle among the gastronomic crowd, the Oxford Symposium of Food and Cookery is for you.
Join us at the next symposium
This year we explore the many ways in which imagination shapes food and our relationship with it. To what extent is food a product of the mind, and how do we turn raw ingredients into complex dishes and food cultures? Does our sense of identity affect how we taste? This year, we consider food in all its sacred and profane connotations. If cooking is what makes us human, imagination lit the flame.
Set your spirit flying
Beyond food and drink
The Symposium is, above all, a celebration of life through food. A meeting of like minds and free spirits, it is a place where scholarship and playfulness mingle, where academia meets spontaneity and convention melts in a delicious orgy of the senses. Beyond the richness of great food, wine, and conversation, it gives space for the mind to open and to let the spirits fly.
Ever expanding discussions
The conversation starts at St Catz, but it doesn’t end there. We share ideas and knowledge throughout the year via our virtual community, whether through our website and blog, our monthly gatherings at the Kitchen Table, or by joining forces to edit our archives, co-edit Wikipedia, or to help build The Sifter, a unique culinary archive begun in the 1960s by Barbara Ketcham Wheaton.
Expand the table
Improve the plate