Food & Drink Design
Food & Drink
It all started with discussions about comfort food. Where do these foods come from? How could they be translated across different cultures? And how could we challenge perception of a dish, and ingredients, to create a new experience?
Astoria, thought to be the first known mention of creature comforts
Go To Work on An Egg advert featuring Tony Hancock shown in 1950s Britain
Image: Sky News
The iconic ramen scene from comedy film Tampopo
52 million year old tomatillo fossil found in Patagonia
Image: Smithsonian Magazine
Ya Kun’s story begins in 1944, when Loi Ah Koon first began selling kaya toast in Singapore
Image: The Peak
Inspired by tasting menus and travels, we wanted to bring references and flavours together in a way that would feel recognisable, but with a twist.
It was an opportunity to share historical and gastronomic research in an accessible manner whilst acknowledging the constant evolution of cultural norms.
We created a five-course meal based on common ingredients and foods from around the world: eggs, sausages, skins, burgers and ramen noodles. A drink pairing was provided with each course.
The menu began by exploring our childhood memories of the classic breakfast staples – the humble eggs. Cantonese-style rice porridge is topped with a cured yolk instead of century egg, while kaya toast is merged with eggs and soldiers to create crispy beancurd sticks with kaya (a fragrant coconut egg jam) for dipping.
Congee | China
Rice, tarragon broth, chive foam, cured egg yolk
Kaya Soldiers | United Kingdom & Singapore
Beetroot pickled eggs, spiced kaya, crispy beancurd soldiers
Paired with Keigetsu sake and/or
hibiscus flower tea
The next course was all about sausage. Sausage rolls are ubiquitous in the UK but their current form originated in France (a very controversial idea to many Brits) while the hot dog bun may have been created so that customers could hold freshly-cooked sausages without being burned.
Continuing our mixing of East and West, we added Asian influences throughout the dough and seasonings of this British classic.
Sausage Roll | France
Sausage meat, pickled mustard greens, satay sauce, dried shrimp, Chinese chives
Hot Dog Bun | United States
Bratwurst, bao bun, ketchup, mustard, pickles, crispy onions
Paired with Brooklyn Old-Fashioned
Taco | Mexico
Toasted rice flour tortilla, Szechuan peppercorn milk-poached fish, mango salsa, pickled onions
Dumplings | China
Black bean, chipotle, chocolate
Tomato, pepper, aubergine,
sweet potato nightshade
crystal skin dumpling
Like most Western nations, the demographic make-up of America is changing. Our fourth item on the menu served a mini meal of burger, fries and soda – in classic aluminium trays with bright yellow napkins, but with distinct Asian flavours from China, Vietnam and Korea.
Burger | United States
Seared crispy hirata bun, char siu-style beef, pickled mooli, pak choi, mango ketchup
Fries | Belgium
Deep fried yam
Paired with a ‘Coke can’ cocktail
The final chapter of the meal was ramen, during which we screened a short clip from the comedy film Tampopo. From noodles to toppings, we reimagined each element of ramen in dessert form, bringing it together in a petite bowl.
Tonkotsu | Japan
Mochiko noodles, matcha broth, bamboo tuile, milk jelly and saffron cream egg
Paired with Bodego Ochoa moscatel or Coedo Shikkoku black lager
In keeping with the theme of cultural exploration, menus were crafted to resemble investigation folders, as though a researcher had bundled their notes together.
Each contained a collection of images, notes and other clippings in various sizes, with colours inspired by notebooks and folders. These were customised for each guest depending on dietary requests, stitched together and placed in translucent envelopes.
We had a successful event with 8 guests – the feedback we received was encouraging and inspired us to think about other research themes and menus for the future.
Ben Pendlebury, Jewel Tai