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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...

Table Talks: meet the duo behind Cocktail Sandwich

Hi guys! So first, tell us who you are, where you are from?

Cocktail Sandwich is a nomadic bar and design studio made up of me, Emily from London and Rhys from Aberystwyth in Wales.  

How did you end up working together, what did you study to become "food designers" and what brought you to Switzerland?

It has been a pretty circuitous yet fortunate path that has meant we have ended up in the world of food design. 

We first met at the Royal College of Art in London, where Rhys was studying architecture and I was studying experience design. I also have a background in Human Science, and Rhys in Fine Art and professional kitchens, so we have quite a mixed range of influences. 

I moved to Switzerland for a design research job at the EPFL+ECAL Lab in Lausanne in 2017. Then soon started doing a couple of little projects together just for fun and ended up staying here to grow our studio. 

Can you tell us a little more about the idea behind Cocktail Sandwich?

The idea for Cocktail Sandwich came from the first ever pop-up we did. We were, and still are, interested in re-interpreting popular foods such as sandwiches and cocktails and moving them towards types of fine dining. 

Now we bring in more of our background experience, linking investigatory design research with pragmatic commercial practice. In our events, we like to explore under-used ingredients, unusual techniques and technologies, as well as looking into the historical and cultural context of food and drink. We then design objects, sets, and performances that complete the dining experience we want to create. 

If you could explain why food is so important in 3 words, what would they be?

Tasty, delicious, yummy.

What does food design mean to you?

It certainly means a lot of different things to different people, but for us, it's about applying our skills in spatial, graphic, and experiential design to food, to see how we can contribute something a little out of the ordinary. 

Favourite food place in the UK?

We have a lot of favourites, but we recently had an amazing meal at a fish restaurant called Sweetings in the City of London. It's been open since 1889, hasn't changed much since then, and only does a lunch service; we drank Black Velvet cocktails out of silver tankards and ate potted shrimp, skate with caper butter and steamed syrup pudding. 

We also love the enforced rules at the Regency Cafe in Pimlico, drinking a neroli negroni at Volpo in Liverpool, the tiny dining room of Pysgoty in Aberystwyth, and watching the sparks fly behind the bar at Palomar in Soho.

What trends do you see happening in the next year? And in the next 10 years?

Well, over the last 10 years there seemed to be an explosion of new tastes and textures, as more and more hidden or "lost" regional cuisines - Yunan cheeses or fermented Norwegian pine needles for example - were researched, reborn and reinterpreted. 

Now, with all the money that is being invested in food-tech projects, it seems that it won't be long before new inventions, bioreactors and what have you, will begin to migrate from the lab to the kitchen. Which, to us, means the probable emergence of entirely new flavours, smells, textures and appearances.

How do you imagine the future of cocktails to be like? And sandwiches?

Cocktails are at their best when they combine complexity and simplicity. New techniques that rethink classic flavours is what we are looking forward to. 

Both cocktails and sandwiches, though simple at first glance, are deceptive and difficult beasts to define. Yet this is one of the reasons we like them so much! They are both timeless and very much connected to modernity. 

The interpretation of a "classic" is something that we love, and we hope that whatever the future holds, the things we eat and drink will continue to contain some grain of this spirit.

What brand/company do you dream to work with?

Anyone who's willing to do something different with us!

Can you share a fun cocktail recipe to our readers to give them energy for this new year?

How about a Beetroot Bloody Mary? It's a great kick start to the weekend and has an amazing colour. Our recipe uses dill-infused gin, which is in fact incredibly easy to make. You just have to put 1 teaspoon of dried dill into a tea infuser (or something similar), and then suspended it in 500ml of gin for 4 hours.  Beetroot Bloody Mary Place all ingredients in a shaker, and serve over ice with a lime or beetroot garnish

40ml dill infused gin (see above), 20ml beetroot juice, 100ml tomato juice, 5ml lime juice, 5ml worcestershire sauce, Dash of green Tabasco,

Salt and pepper

Thank you to Emily & Rhys for answering these little questions for Crème zine and sharing with us some insights into the beautiful pairing of cocktails & sandwiches!

Follow their adventures over on Instagram @cocktailsandwich & their website

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