Food Fashion 3: Delicious Design

Fashion is certainly subject to all sorts of fads. But what is it that makes us want to try something new? To stop and look at an advertisement or window display? I believe that it is all about design. We are naturally drawn to those things that are new and unique – things that are devised and constructed to appeal to our senses. This is just as true with Food Fashion.

Food is a catalyst for imagination and creativity; and, it has always had a fundamental relationship with design and the arts. Food Fashion is about flavors, textures, colors, ingredients, and techniques. But it is design that brings these elements together. Food is made fashionable by a chef’s ability to tell a story, using visceral imagery.

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Food that tells a Story.
Cuisine & Design

Design is at the center of cuisine. Not only the visual appeal of the finished product or plate of food, but the entire experience. Food Fashion is created by “designers” – usually we think of Chefs alone – but there are many others who contribute to the finished product of what we see on the plate and enjoy on our tastebuds.

It begins with architectural strategy. Cut from the same cloth, so to speak, culinarians are all in the business of building an environment and shaping history. Once the blueprints are in place, chefs can then commence construction. Sourcing ingredients from local farmers within a hundred mile radius, product shelf life and plating are all crucial. Can the dish be reproduced in the exact structure for each guest during each seating?

Local farmers increasingly play an important role in Food Fashion. Inherently these experts understand the importance of soil and climate, fertilization and irrigation costs, labor demand for harvesting, seasonality and consistency of produce, weather patterns, projected prices and transportation.

They are the founders who raise the most modest ingredients into grand works of nutrition art.

steak-and-vegetables
Nutrition as Art.
Logistical Design

Logistical design is critical to delivering the best end-product. “Logistic Designers” help to keep food safe. They practice SFS (Sustainable Food System), handling food from the raw stage of production, procurement, preparation, aesthetics, packaging, labeling, time and temperature control during transportation, traceability and even disposal. They help to influence fashion in selecting sustainable materials to help reduce waste in packaging. Ultimately, their aim is to make sure that the nutrition needs are never compromised for the end user.

Ensuring that the finished product is visually appealing, fresh, flavorful and delightful on the palate is the work of the “culinary designers”. However, the spatial experience matters as well to food fashionistas.

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In the immaculately designed kitchen at Hotel de Paris’ Le Louis IV.
Cuisine & Curator

The culture, conception, design philosophy and psychology of designing a restaurant, inherently building a brand, calls for professionals who qualify in sustainable building, have a great respect for nature, appreciate responsibility in safety, and are proficient in communications. Essentially, it is more than just being proficient in science and mathematics.

Fashioning a restaurant, factors in considerations such as venue, menu, environment, cozy, target audience, and finally a composition that is satiating, one that will generate loyalty from customers.

The Art of Hospitality is scrupulous and dictates attention to detail. Though the food is the main component, it warrants to be presented in an ambiance that is meritorious of the cuisine and the curator.

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A unique sanctuary combining the outside in and inside out. The Marble Courtyard at Four Seasons George V, Paris. (Photo: Food Seasons.com)
Diner Experience

In an interior design whether the aesthetic is art deco, art nouveau, art moderne, or simply minimalist, transitional, traditional, or classic, setting the scene to deliver “on point”. There has to be some allowance for creative freedom and design philosophy for the interior architecture as well.

A unique entrance, placement of adequate lighting appropriately placed, suitable color choices, all play an important role in enhancing a space. A clear layout, functionality, good music that appeals to our senses, special attention to restrooms. Big open kitchens, adequate ventilation.

Some of the most beautiful restaurants I have ever eaten in were the simplest in design. Where the most is made of the space and environment given. That is the art of design.

Food Fashion was soon lifted to higher heights by calling attention to all aspects of dining utensils on the table as well as the ceiling and the room. These exhibitions were part of the entire experience for diners.

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Amuse bouche served on delicate spoons, Restaurant La Chèvre D’Or, Ezé France.
Starck Colors

I have always been a great fan of Philippe Starck, French architect, and designer. I was first introduced to his work in 1994 in Hong Kong when he designed the Felix restaurant at the Peninsula Hotel. His ability to transport people to the best places still holds true.

Best known for his unconventional style, talent, and inspiration to change visual perceptions. Setting benchmarks with unique shapes and materials such as glass, stone, aluminum, and chrome. Bright colors or just monochromatic blacks and whites, exhibiting modernity even when he uses velvet fabrics.

“I create restaurants, bars, places full of life in order to provoke sensory experiences that awaken the body, the eyes, the ears, the spirit. Every place is a full experience.”

Starck’s work inspired culinarians to compose their own plates and vessels that would showcase their beautiful cuisine. After all, we all eat with our eyes first.

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Restaurant Le Meurice Alain Ducasse, designed by Philippe Starck. (Photo: Starck.com)
Food Fashionistas!

The aspiration culture around global cuisine has made incredible advances over the past few decades. We are gradually being introduced to fabrication of the finest kind.

In the end, Food Fashion encompasses a whole family of contributors and stakeholders, all of whom strive to deliver a new experience, while satisfying our basic need to eat. I am greatly appreciative of those who blaze the trail of Food Fashion. Those who take risks to re-invent classics or try something completely new and distinctive.

I am especially grateful to the culinary artists who are delivering foods that nourish us. When it comes to our nutrition, the quality of the “food” takes precedence over “fashion”. Regardless of Food Fashion, trends and fads, it only matters that we are conscious of what we are eating, where it is coming from and how it impacts our collective wellbeing.

So, I wish you all the best, my Food Fashionistas!

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