Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Urban Food Provisioning in Ghana: Fast Food Restaurants

As 2014 draws to a close, I have returned to my desk in Pennsylvania, USA, after several
months away. A recent trip was to the Netherlands, specifically to Wageningen University, where I was pleased to be on the examining committee during Rose Omari's doctoral defense. I first met Dr. Omari when she was a student and working at the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute in Accra during a research trip to Ghana in 2010, and it is encouraging to see another young African scholar tackling some of the gaps in African culinary research. Originally trained as a food scientist, Dr. Omari transitioned into the social sciences with her doctoral research.

Intrigued by the rapid emergence of an urban social phenomenon in Ghana, the "fast-food restaurant," she wanted to use the Accra Metropolitan Area to answer basic what, why, where and when questions, and to try to make sense of it. She wanted to use a Ghanaian perspective rather than simply adopt Western models. Prof. Dr. E. O. Sakyi-Dawson, from the University of Ghana, was another of her examiners. The research is fascinating and likely to inspire further efforts. Besides doing a fine job of description, she sought to cast a wide interdisciplinary net to analyze the phenomenon considering the interacting and contradictory dimensions of social identity,  convenience, and sense of consumer responsibility.

The thesis title is: Fast Food in Ghana's Restaurants: Prevalence, Characteristics, and Relevance--An Interdisciplinary Perspective. One paper rising from the research has already been published, and several more are already submitted/accepted:

Omari, R., Jongerden, J. P., Essegbey, G. Frempong, G., and Ruivenkamp, G. T. P. (2014) Fast food in the Greater Accra Region of Ghana: Characteristics, availability and the cuisine concept. Food Studies 1 (4):29-44.

Omari R., Essegbey G. and Ruivenkamp G. (2014) Barriers to the use of locally produced food products in Ghanaian restaurants: Opportunities for investments [Accepted for publication in Journal of Scientific Research and Reports]

Dr. Omari is married and has children. From personal experience I know that a woman's academic road in that case can be a long and challenging one, requiring intense commitment and persistence, and the sustained love and support of one's spouse, family, and friends. Clearly, Dr. Omari received that. Well done!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thank you for this posting. You are doing so much to tell the story about African cuisine. More grease to your elbows.