Haunted by the authentic: When the imagined Italian gastronomy becomes Italiano

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftPaper/skriftligt oplægForskning


Research description and purpose: The purpose of this investigation is to explore Danish guests’ experience when consuming ‘authentic’ Italian food in Italian restaurants in Denmark. In this context, the aim of the research is to engage in a discussion of the concept of authenticity in ethnic food consumption, and the guests’ experience with and reaction to the authentic culinary experience in ethnic restaurants in the consumers’ home country.

Design/Methodology: The paper methodology is based on the use of mixed methods. A collection of primary quantitative and qualitative data through a questionnaire and individual interviews with relevant guests at the Italian restaurant Sticchi’s in Aalborg, Denmark. Guests have been selected for qualitative interviews on the basis of the quantitative questionnaire that random
guests have filled out in February 2013. Moreover, netnographic observation of the restaurant Facebook page has been conducted.

Research limitations/implications: The data were collected among guests at only one Italian
restaurant in Denmark. Therefore, generalizing the results for other segments of the restaurant industry may not be possible. However, the purpose of this study is not to generalize its findings, but, in line with its exploratory nature, to investigate the behaviour of Danish guests in relation to consumption of Italian food in an authentic setting.

Originality/value: This paper looks at the relationship between the guest and the experience of ethnic food from a new perspective. Danish guests are in this research not approached as ‘experiencers’, in the sense of possessing conscious readiness to experience something authentic, but as ‘experiencees’, in the sense of receiving an experience which was not expected. They are haunted by the authentic!

Keywords: authenticity, food consumption, experience, consumer behaviour, Italian food, Danish guests.
Publikationsdatomaj 2013
StatusUdgivet - maj 2013