This is my first article in the new year 2013. For me the beginning of this year was a little bit challenging to say the least however I’m really excited to write about a very nice dinner invitation I got from 2 very special incredible people and shared with another two incredible friends and all revolving around wine.
I recently wrote an article about a wine producer from Galicia. My friend Hugo who’s father is JOSÉ ANTONIO LÓPEZ DOMÍNGUEZ a very special wine producer I wrote about just before christmas last year (see article link below). Hugo and his father was so kind to organize three wines from his wine estate so that we could make a little tasting together here in London.
I arrived at Hugo’s flat in Hackney which is in the beautiful old church that has been converted into flats. I then was introduced to an incredible person for the first time which was Christopher Kelly of Theatre dela Mode (http://www.notjustalabel.com/editorial/theatre_de_la_mode). His is a british unique designer who also loves many other art forms, he paints and is involved in many other projects to. His fashion is particularly popular in Japan.
He is such an extraordinary menswear designer. I love fashion and find mens ware fashion sometimes more exiting then womans purely because it speaks to me more in the sense that is is so wearable in a city like London.
I have always liked man’s fashion because of the different structures layers and combinations, attitude ….almost being like kind of urbon city amor but at the same time being really cool and edgy. I like to switch things up combining obviously something feminine with the masculine and Christopher Kelly’s work is a beautiful example of this, I really appreciate craftsmanship and simplicity but within this simplicity I find complexity that is really satisfying to me.
Being a Japanese specialist chef we see simplicity as something that we aspire to and in order to do this you have to develop great craftsmanship over many years of practice. The journey of getting to this level is definitely not a simple one it is layered with so many different emotions, feelings understanding, insight, revelations, aspirations, struggles and many many many experiences and this is what really fascinates me.
I guess I see my own view when looking at Christophers work and I hope it resonates correctly to some degree.
Christopher had a collaboration project (see picture above) which was a exhibition of monster sculpture, embodying the spirit of the jacket. Andrew uses specialist techniques to construct imposing sculptures that express the very makeup of each jacket, its form, colour, style and even how it feels to wear it.”
THis is exactly the kind of thing that I like to do with my food concepts. In japan the idea of something having a spirit or something else that goes beyond the physical- that is the spirit or essence of something, a kind of extended experience of what you normally see, is not unusual in Japan. That is the magic of something that resonates beyond the physical touching emotion and stimulating the way we can experience things. That is completely important and interesting for me otherwise my dishes are just technical. To develop sensitivity for that and the skill to make this more experiential to people- is an art.
It can be a bit intimidating for me to try to speak about these things when you meet another very sophisticated artist or trying to write about this on my blog.
I would say in general that working with these concepts is definitely more unusual in gastronomy then fashion and it can be difficult to apply in a comercial business. However restaurants like El bulli and mugaritz etc do have a greater understanding and freedom to work with these elements and have influenced the gastronomic industry world wide with many avantgarde ideas that usually are more accustomed to art and music etc.
“Celebrating a collection of re-invigorated classics, Theatre de la Mode has collaborated with paper sculptor Andrew MacGregor to create an elaborate exhibition of monster sculpture, embodying the spirit of the jacket. Andrew uses specialist techniques to construct imposing sculptures that express the very makeup of each jacket, its form, colour, style and even how it feels to wear it.”
My evening in the company of Hugo, Christopher, Ana and Theresa was an evening that was a truly rich experience for me and subject matters were as abstract and fee without prejudice. It is very rarely that I actually meet other creative thinkers on everyday basis so when I do, I really get extremely creatively stimulated.
I would describe it as being overwhelmed and I love being overwhelmed. It is almost like the richness of everything is overwhelming your being with new information and perceptions which is like being fed with new energy’s.
I am not a Christian however there is a saying which I don’t know exactly who said it -I presume it was Jesus but it said “that man should not live from bread alone” and there are definitely so many different ways to nurture and nourishing your self.
As a chef I definitely don’t just concentrate on the actual physical side of food preparation.
In the early training of my career I definitely focused on really understanding the physical aspects of cooking, timing, textures, all nutritional aspect, history and so on however- now I seem to focus on making the experience bigger by inviting other elements which you would normally not be concentrate on in a conventional chef training.
A very good example of this is Mugaritz. Food defiantly has the potential to be as artistic as any other art form.
I do believe that perhaps developing this more holistic idea of different ways that the human can nourish his senses and being is an interesting subject to develop.
Eating in good company in a nice place with people that really care about you definitely has energetically a different effect on your body then if you’re on your own depressed and in the harsh environment.
If you look how we eat and were the food comes from and how it all is handled etc that alone is a very good place to start analysing how that might effect you nourishment ultimately.
I’m not having any particular revolutionary thoughts on this subject however it’s something that really occupies my mind and I do try to focus on this and see how far I can go with it however it is very difficult to find like-minded chefs who are willing to embark on such a journey of developing such ideas and of corse one has to also think realistically in terms of financing such a project.
This is just to share a little bit about what is going on in my mind and how to come closer to these things and creating a tangible operation in the very near future.
So in a nutshell meeting Christopher work was extremely inspiring to me because it is like creatieve parallel thinking. His project with capturing the spirit of the jacket is very much what I am doing with food. Seeing Christophers work assures me that I am not wrong in what I am exploring. It is always good to know you are not the only one thinking certain things and being a hermit you can easily feel you loosing track with others sometimes.
That evening we were to conduct a mini wine tasting together and comparing what each one of us actually got fromt he wine’s, one was Nicola the other was Tabela and the third one was Trico.
Below this article I will link to a previous article which will explain in detail about where those wines came from and how they’re being cultivated in Galicia.
I have attach the pictures of the evening as it is to hard to write the events of the night in detail.
Hugo is working in the V&A so his home was like a treasure sanctuary of many iconic trinkets and wonders that you just keep discovering throughout the night.
A meal was also prepared for the wine tasting and very charmingly served on vintage collectables creating such a personal experience.
The 3 Albarino’s of Galicia
All 3 wines have labels all drawn by Hugo’s great grandmother, this bottle has a little greek soldier on it symbolising the strength and uniqueness of a child that without trying is irrepetible as is this wine.
This wine is my favourite, very clean fruity nose really fantastic for the kind of dishes I create. Please read the full article about all these 3 wines attached link below. I have not gone in to much detail in this report and it is important to see all the detail and specialist care goes into the production and history of these very unique special Albarino’s.
We only expected to try the wines but the food prepared that evening was so wonderful that I had to include the pictures. Sorry my camera is not good but I hope the spirit of this special meeting will come across.
All dishes were served in vintage vessels which was really a fantastic way to experience togetherness and sharing food. I used to be involved in a cafe called Macaron in Clapham and my idea was that all the crockery was bought from vintage shops nothing was matching I still love this idea.
I want to thank everyone for that very special night. I added this picture because seemingly really ordinary things in the right view can become extraordinary. I really like developing my senses and eyes to see the magnificence in everything. The closest thing that feels like god to me.
Alchemy of the moment.