Last Friday I had coffee with Sabrina Shirazi, an artist in Bristol who is currently the Food and Technology Resident at the Pervasive Media Studio, a community of creatives, technologists and academics exploring experience design and creative technology at the Watershed. Intrigued by her work, last night I attended her showcase in the At-Bristol Science Centre where she paired tastes to sounds.
Sabrina is the first in what I hope will become a monthly feature on interesting people within 'food'. Pretty broad right - could be artists, chefs, wine tasters, brewers. I've not got any further with that yet. If you have any suggestions about who you'd like to hear about, do let me know!
Back to Sabrina - first and foremost she is an artist. An artist who loves food. She told me how her perfect Saturday night would be to fill her flat with friends and cook for them. And how one of her best birthdays was a big meal at home with so many people she had to drag her fridge into her bedroom to make more space!
She is working on two food related projects at the moment and they are both challenging in their own way but to me at least, totally fascinating.
"Cuisine+Colour serves to pioneer an original way of relishing food, where colour is delicious and cuisine is to dye for"
Is this a supper club, an art installation or something between the two? Diners sit along tables covered by crisp white table cloths and wearing white bibs, tuck into delicious, colourful food. This isn't a food fight and it's not necessarily about eating with your hands (although that is an option). It's about experiencing colour and food in a new way. At the end of the meal, there is an opportunity to have your photo taken, the results are great and no doubt a perfect keepsake of a memorable evening.
Sabrina talked about how Cuisine+Colour grew out of a visual arts project into what it is now, 5 events on and growing in popularity. She uses quality chefs to put together tasty menus which can be 'messy' - essentially challenging the etiquette of adult dining, which is probably why it's so popular with kids and liberating for adults.
I can't wait to try it for myself at Camp Bestival later this month. If you're going to Camp B, make sure you book tickets ahead because with just two sessions, I'm sure this will sell out!
"OPUS is a live performance to unite sound, image and taste by harnessing congruent elements between them. What visuals and taste would resonate with a particular sound?"
For someone who loves music AND food, this one really appeals. Sat there in Watershed on a friday morning, I struggled to visualise what Sabrina meant when she asked me what a cymbal crashing would taste like - but once I was sat at the showcase last night, I totally got it. In a darkened room we ate spoons of chocolate mousse, lemon with popping candy, lavender pannacotta and cucumber water as we listened to musicians playing the harp, cello and cymbals. Each sound matched a taste. It was fascinating - and not just in an arty sense - Sabrina has plans to develop OPUS not only into a large scale performance and taste piece, but also to help deaf and visually impaired people. She's already on the way with tech-food ideas like a bone conducting gobstopper, which allows you to experience flavour whilst hearing sound through your jaw. Genius!
If you want to find out more about Sabrina and everything she's working on - visit her on the Pervasive Media Studio website or follow Cuisine+Colour on twitter and instagram.
How do you think a cymbal sound would taste? I'd love to hear your comments!