“…so Alice ventured to taste it, and, finding it very nice (it had, in fact, a sort of mixed flavor of cherry-tart, custard, pine-apple, roast turkey, toffee, and hot buttered toast), she very soon finished it off” – Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
“All we ever get is gru-el” complained the young, malnourished children in the much-loved 1968 film-adaptation of Charles Dickens’ novel Oliver Twist, after the workhouse owner sniffs the sickly yellow-white mixture. These were a few of their [LEAST] favourite things!
Yet away from film and literature, food ‘feeds’ the gut. It is no more, the biologists among you may argue, than that which enters our mouth, travels through our gut to the intestine, to be broken down and expelled from the body as urine and…. Some starches and other important vitamins (ask a scientist, not me!) are stored and used by the body. Agreed?
So how can food design – how something looks or smells – become ‘attractive’? Do they offer us an experience? “In this world you can get food, and then you can get food which has a story behind it,” claims Student-Chef Sam Lewis. Indeed Michelin-Star-Come-Celebrity-Chef Heston Blumenthal “just can’t resist the challenge of changing a fictional drink to reality”.
Yes; design in food is well established in the food retail and catering industries. Mr Lewis explained that he works in “one of London’s top restaurants and I know that, for example, every potato has to be the same shape – and for every different meat there will be a different shape potato!”
The International Food Design Society similarly attempts to perfect the magical art: a short peruse of their website reveals “Design With Food… melts, blows, pulls, foams, mixes and reassembles food as a raw material, transforming it to create something that did not exist before in terms of flavor, consistency, temperature, color and texture.”
In not-so-technicoloured language, ifooddesign.org eseentially aims to create a completely different atmosphere of food design and eating: from Blumenthal’s Drink Me Potion* to GiJang Muslan’s ‘lighter than a mousse but firmer than a foam’ Espesso coffee, to a Caviar that tastes of fruit…
So with a bowlful of imagination – thanks to the the Einstein eccentrics of Planet Eat – you will find yourself whisked away to a wonderland of kaleidoscopically colorful culinary flavours. And maybe you will cry the infamous: “Please, Sir, I want some more!
What do you think? Have your say in the comments section below.