How can we celebrate our mouth and challenge our habits?

A multi sensorial experience on tactility, intimacy, connection and the unexpected sensation of grazing.

Our lips are wired with a high density of nerve ends and are therefore super sensitive to touch, temperature and consistency.

However, when we eat, we generally use utensils like cutlery, chopsticks or our fingers to make food enter the mouth.

We hardly ever touch the food with our lips or consciously notice the texture of food with any other body part than the tongue and the inside of our mouths.

I am fascinated by grazing as this seems such a distinct animalistic feature. We might look down upon it but we could also consider the sensuous aspects of banning the hands to aid us eat. By eating with tools we (literally) create a distance between us and what we eat. What happens when you can only pick up food with your lips and mouth. When the rules of the table are staged in a way that grazing suddenly seems a tempting act?

The guests are sitting on adjustable bar stools around a high, long table. The table is set up with a large variety of glass shapes (all upside down drinking glasses, bowls and bottles) that resemble a sky-line. The glasses are arranged on large sheets of acrylic with a laser cut pattern that fixes the glassware on the right position and are lit from underneath.

On top of these volumes delicious little bites are served.

Guests will sit on both sides of the table in a way that their heads will just reach over the table. The food is close to the mouth, to the nose and the eyes. The dishes are composed in a way so that every bite gives a sensation in temperature, texture or a slightly tingling sensation of pepper or mint. The table is rather narrow so the guests are close to each other and it is easy to speak.

The setting calls for zooming in. It feels like looking at a maquette. You enter a new world. Smells, sights and flavours mix in a surreal glass setting. Light is fixed under the table and shines trough the acrylic cuts so it looks like a vibrant city at night.

Thank you for your stimulating “urban grazing” installation which took people out of their comfort zone and provided a great setting for our Chefify event. Overall, I was impressed by your projects which you highlighted in your presentation. You challenge conventional thinking and provide new perspectives. We need more courageous global citizen like you.

Peter Amon Head of Global Food, Nestle

Underneath the table the guests are connected by holding leeks in both hands. This keeps their hands occupied while they can focus on what is in front of them.

Underneath the glasses the dessert is already in place during the whole lunch and is revealed after the glasses are taken out after the first course.

This project was made for the professional chefs-organisation in HongKong. A sky-scraper city where it’s not easy to feel connection to the source of food. Focussing on the senses within the urban context reframes and ritualises the eating experience for a closer connection with their daily material: food.

Comissioned by

Design Indaba, South Africa
for Chefify, Hong Kong

The delicious food was created by

Johan Cuypers
of Food for Inspiration

Images by

APE Concept Ltd.
South Africa

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