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Our new food & design research collection. Here we will feature articles about design thinking and processes, food (of course), but more specifically food culture, cook book reviews, food and design trends and much more...

Storytelling through food


I remember a dessert I had once in Moscow. It was at the Café Pushkin restaurant, on Pushkin Square. I was served a crème brulée shaped as a pyramid, with poached raspberries around and a caramel lattice dome over it. Shortly after the waiter proceeded to drizzle flambéed vodka over it and the caramel dome melted creating the crème brulée effect. He then explained: this dish was inspired by Napoleon, and his failure to conquer the Egyptian pyramids.

I found this story so intriguing and captivating that I've always seemed to remember it. It was I think the only time I had been served a dish with a story alongside it. When I first started Salty Studio, I had done so much research to inspire each dish and then simply served them to my guests thinking they would "get it" somehow. I then realised (obviously) that would not be the case and a few supperclubs after I started reading these stories for each course. I think it adds another element to the experience and adds more sense to each dish, why I chose to pick those ingredients and present it in that particular way.


Napoleon's Failed Egyptian Pyramid Conquest

I want to push stories further although sometimes I get stressed when I can't get the "perfect" story to match with the dish I came up with. Creativity can be tricky and its all about stimulating your creative thinking. But that's another story.

We'll see how this will evolve with time and experience, as I'm not always very comfortable speaking in front of a large group of people, but maybe one day I will have some special people to do this for me or I'll find another way of communicating this.

Stories are here to trigger your imagination, each person can interpret them and visualise them in their own way. It's nice to add some sense into what you are putting inside your body, something you do on a regular basis but here we shake things up a bit a remind your body that our gut is linked to our brain. What we eat influences how we feel, and if we can tell a story as well then even better.

Stories are also education. I like finding little fun facts about certain ingredients or what inspired the dish, so people leave feeling like they've also learnt something. This comes into the senses discussion (have a read again about enhancing the sensory experience). When you associate something fun to something less fun (education & food, either way works depending on how you see it), then you remember more! Imagine if we'd studied the Soviet Cold War whilst eating a bowl of borscht and Russian black rye bread. I wonder how many of use would remember our class a lot more?

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