This pop up dinner is a collaborative effort between Monica Martinez, Illya Haro and myself at the O2 Artisans Aggregate. We worked to develop the idea of creating a new landscape for presenting insects as a future food. From the lens of design we investigated the challenges of culinary norms and perception of food. How might we make edible insects commonplace for consumers in the western world? At the night of the event, we talked about the design choices behind each dish, the use of tableware and the RISO printed menu-poster for guests to take home. My contribution to this collaboration includes both the material language of the eating experience and the visual assets used to promote the event.
How might we present edible insects as a future food?
In this collaboration, we were interested in removing the use of a white plate by offering a new landscape (table-setting) as a way to present edible insects as a future food. The goal of this pop up dinner was to open up a conversation about how we (designers and chefs) change people's perception of food. Illya kicked off the edible insects experience by acknowledging that the space in which guests were eating was in a Japanese noodle shop. Monica discussed her personal narrative of pre-Mexican dishes as a way to bridge the past with the future of edible insects. This complex dialogue of past and future foods manifested in our sketches which became a visual and shared thought process for guests to see and take away after the meal.
La Tierra de Comida
During my presentation at the dinner event, I described the process of RISO printing and the concept of "La Tierra de Comida" or Eating Landscapes. The idea I communicated was around the notion of embracing the elements surrounding the food and to translate peoples roles in this culinary experience. Here, the diner is a farmer, manipulating and cultivating the grounds from the bamboo field our food comes in. The poetry behind the concept of "La Tierra" help frame the peculiarity and excitement of eating pre-hispanic dishes in a japanese noodle shop.
The illustrations on the menu and social media graphics are derived from the sketches Monica and I produced during the concept development of this pop up dinner. We wanted to give a sense of our process to all audiences who are curious to learn about alternative proteins and our plate-form experiments for presenting food. I translated our conversations into a menu design that I RISO printed and folded for the night of the event.
Social Media Graphics
In addition to the menu, I created social media graphics for Illya Haro who helped promote and curate this event. These social graphics were displayed on Instagram, Facebook, Don Bugito's MailChimp newsletter and Eventbrite. 34/40 tickets were sold.
Plate-forming "La Tierra de Comida"
The plate forms shown below are prototypes of one of the dishes served at the event. This particular plate form was specifically designed for the chiniquil corn custard. At the night of the event we ultimately decided to present these forms as prototypes and concepts that would inspire a conversation for imagining the future of eating.
Behind the scenes with Monica Martinez, Illya Haro and Raquel Kalil
This experience is just one of many. As Monica and I continue to refine our method making we expect to improve our prototypes and plan additional pop up dinners within the next few months. Meanwhile, I look forward to improving my casting skills as I continue to refine the notions of designing "eating landscapes" in the context of future foods.
The second Past Futures dinner was curated once again by our very own Illya Haro. Our work is still in progress and will be forever evolving as we continue to find ways to communicate sustainable possibilities with pre-hispanic ingredients.