I’m going to admit this straight up: I’m not a food connoisseur. Gastronomy to me is putting food in my mouth and enjoying it, followed by gulps of alcohol and a satisfied burp. I am the worst nightmare of any respectable epicurean.
That being said, I am also a Singaporean. To put it simply, even the simplest of us knows when something tastes good – our eyes light up, and our mouths will curl up into an eerie smile as we swallow that bit of goodness.
I was tasked to partake in a culinary workshop in the Miele Kitchen at At-Sunrice as part of the World Gourmet Summit, and boy was I glad I did. How else would I have known that established chefs would serve you food on a cardboard table and have you cut holes in said table to find dips and garnishes for the food?
Hailing all the way from the other side of the world, Copenhagen chefs Bo Lindegaard and Lasse Askov showed me a whole different way of experiencing a meal. Calling themselves I’m A Kombo, they’ve come up with an innovative concept The Social Act, which induces diners to interact not only just with themselves, but also with the completion of their meal.
The Social Act is the product of thorough thought-processes. Chefs Lindegaard and Askov have managed to infuse themes such as surprise, fun, interaction, contrast, innovation and many more into their meals, and their efforts can be seen in the responses of their diners.
To show us what they meant, they handed each of us a passionfruit, a knife and a spoon. “Cut it open and eat it,” they said. I was skeptical – is this how they made the meal different? The pleasant surprise came after I’d cut it open – they had actually injected Bombay Sapphire gin-infused gelatin into the fruits! I marveled at how the aqua-blue colour mixed with the yellow-green of the passionfruit. It was new, it was amazing and it was heavenly.
The next course was served in an egg carton. There was a yellow mousse made from hard boiled eggs and curry powder, dried herring and alfalfa sprouts. We were to put them together and taste them. It’s quite hard to imagine the resulting taste, but as I took a spoonful I had to close my eyes for a moment. My taste buds were in tongue heaven.
They introduced us to an adaptation of the Danish open-faced sandwich, put into bite-sized pieces, as well as crispy pork rind cracklings with an interesting beetroot and rye dip.
The most interesting part of the meal was dessert. The chefs unravelled a tablecloth, complete with utensils, candles and instructions. We were left to our own devices with two cake layers, and lots of sweet ingredients like white chocolate flakes, marshmallows, sauces and ice cream.
“The meals always end up being very different, because everybody is different, and how you interact with each other is very different,” they said, and I believe them. I’m not sure if anyone can reproduce the (odd) piece of art we came up with in the end.
In a nutshell, going through a part of The Social Act did give me a whole new dining experience. It was refreshing, and definitely opened up a new perspective for me. I hope these guys come back to show us more of their creativity and bold culinary ideas! Watch the video below to see how they execute their meals!