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16 January 2020

Close-up STIMULUS INTERACTIVA NO.1,<br /> Charlotte Visser
The guests gathered somewhat reluctantly in Nob Ruijgrok's workshop Werkplaatswerk at Sectie-C. They had come for STIMULUS INTERACTIVA NO. 1, the latest dining concept by the Creative Chef. Chef-designer-artist Jasper Udink ten Cate opened his pop-up restaurant nestled between the industrial saws and sanding discs. In collaboration with FINSA, he invited his guests during Dutch Design Week (DDW) to become part of a new sensory work of art.

With a coloured plastic cup of white wine in hand, the guests gathered around the Creative Chef. Jasper explained the idea behind the meal. For this special lunch he had sawn out splodges of paint from coloured MDF and put them on high legs. With in the middle a big hole. A camera suspended above recorded everything and it was visible on a monitor. Each paint splat contained a number of trays with ingredients such as sedum leaves, olive oil and one tray full of brightly coloured powders. All completely natural and harvested from Jasper's own garden.

It was quite clear: this was to be no ordinary lunch, but one to experience

Each guest was to add ingredients to a salad that was already partially prepared. Not for themselves, but for a neighbour. So the salad was not just a meal, it was also a conversation starter. Before donning latex gloves and getting started, everyone was given a tiny flower bud to eat. It appeared innocent, but the tingling effect it left could still be felt for many seconds afterwards. The abc herb reset everyone's taste buds, a trick used by wine connoisseurs. It was quite clear: this was to be no ordinary lunch, but one to experience.

The guests enjoyed the special flavours on their plates. Helped by a strange setting, conversations between strangers happen spontaneously. Jasper is intrigued by the social experiment aspect of this dinner. Many of his projects are about the shared experience of eating. The flavours that make up a dish are the driving force behind the experience. But even more important is the story that the dish tells and how the guests become part of this collective story. For him, a meal is more of a work of art. The way his guests move and interact with each other are like brushstrokes on a canvas, in this case the screen. Guests, dish and table become part of the composition of the work of art. It's only a matter of time before one of Jasper's 'works of art' will find its way into a real museum.