Sociologist by training and PhD fellow since August 2019, I am currently part of the Velux funded NICHE project concerned with the rise of four leading Danish market niches. My case study is concerned with the development of the fine dining scene of Copenhagen; I approached the case through a longitudinal research design covering the period 1990s-2020, the main time frame of critical change in the city.
I experiment theory-wise by providing insights of the variety of socio-economic and professional ecologies participating in the fine dining niche, and frame them as reflections on the way they participate(d) in the maintenance of the gourmet scene. Starting from a broader ecological lens (on the wavelength of the Chicago ecological school of Michael T. Hannan and John Freeman), the framework narrows down towards a more connected agency approach, akin to the metaphor-ontology of Linked Ecologies by Andrew Abbott. My writings focus
1) on the practical role of awards – next to their value in defining organizational blueprints among restaurants, and ambitious accolades among chefs;
2) on the importance for chefs and restaurants to access financial support through private equity; and
3) on accounts of relevant organizational shifts in the scene that seem to have taken place through the decades.
Methods-wise, I make use of prosopography work – in this case a historical reconstruction of the Michelin starred scene – from which I highlight inherent patterns and organizational features that co-occurred in specific time frames. To do so, I used archival data (such as corporate ownerships of Michelin starred restaurants of Copenhagen, articles, published interviews) and semi-structured interviews with present and past starred chefs, with investors of the scene, and with satellite actors (e.g. politicians, food critics, relevant chefs of the niche beyond the Michelin accolade).