How is Cooking like Architecture?
Updated: Jun 12
Meeta connects food and design through her experience as an architect: Cooking Class with Camille Jobe's Man & Woman of the Year Fundraiser for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).
"A well designed building utilizes the local weather, topography and prevailing patterns to respond with a design that addresses the needs of its clients. A good meal uses the best local and seasonal ingredients to create a memorable sensory experience for the diner."
Before I decided that I wanted to pursue architecture as a career, I often vacillated between my desire to design buildings and create gastronomic experiences. Now by day I design buildings and on evenings and weekends I indulge in my love of cooking. My own home which I designed has a large kitchen, well stocked pantry, comfortable and connected spaces for eating and entertaining, grilling and outdoor kitchen with a vegetable & herb garden.
Yes, all of these things are related to cooking and architecture but not in the way I think about the two arts. Good food and good architecture are inherently and intensely local by nature. They both respond to specific conditions of the place and time and to the consumers desires. A well designed building utilizes the local weather, topography and prevailing patterns to respond with a design that addresses the needs of its clients. A good meal uses the best local and seasonal ingredients to create a memorable sensory experience for the diner. That is not to say that the exotic should never be used in a meal or in a building. An example of exotic use in cooking might be a spice from India in a dish of say butternut squash, which is not a typical Indian vegetable but is found as a favorite ingredient all through the US. In building it could be technique like brick vaulting which is common in Mexico being used in a building in Austin Texas. Is both instances the "ingredient" is used as a reference to inspire a taste or a memory or to create an emotional response.
Oftentimes when we try to recreate a dish that we had in a far away place, even when all the ingredients are the same, it doesn't turn out the way we think. It’s something about the air, the soil, the quality of light or even the sounds & smells of the place we remember. Pasta in Italy, bread in France, or saag in India, never taste the same out of the places they originate.
Buildings behave in similar ways. I remember being enchanted by the bright colors of the buildings in Mexico city. Inside and out, down hillsides and through winding city streets, the colors all work together. Back in Texas, I have seen people who fell in love with those vistas imitate the colors. It never looks quite the same. The more successful use is referential in that it tries to evoke the feeling by using the colors as accents. The least successful attempts create a garish but pale imitation.
Architecture and food are a reflection of culture, history, wealth, poverty, language, geography, climate and myriad other factors, but at the end of the day architecture, like food has the power to inspire emotions, create memories and drive innovation. I find inspiration for both in my everyday experiences a well as my travels and extraordinary things.
At MMD architecture we’re taking the idea of our annual holiday cook along to a higher purpose Please join Meeta with fellow architects Camille Jobe and Ada Corral at an Indian Cuisine Cooking Demonstration in support of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
Time: 6:30pm CST
Link to sign up: Indian Cooking Class with Meeta | Man & Woman of the Year Fundraiser
To donate and for more information about Ada's Man & Woman of the Year Fundraiser and to donate visit:
For more information and facts about LLS visit: