The art of din­ing is as much about the over­all ex­pe­ri­ence, from decor to mu­sic, as the food con­sumed. Let the show be­gin, says Shan­non Har­ley.

delicious - - INSIDER. -

CU­RAT­ING THESE EX­PE­RI­ENCES is in the hands of the chef, who must add con­duc­tor, chore­og­ra­pher and cre­ative di­rec­tor to their reper­toire. UK chef He­ston Blu­men­thal un­der­stood the im­por­tance of tak­ing din­ers on a multi-sen­sory jour­ney 10 years ago, serv­ing din­ers at Fat Duck an iPod with a sound­track of seag­ulls and crash­ing waves to ac­com­pany his ‘sound of the sea’ dish.

At the top eater­ies around the world, the stim­u­la­tion of the senses goes far beyond our taste­buds. For Mas­simo Bot­tura at Os­te­ria Frances­cana (num­ber two on the 2017 World’s 50 Best list), where his veal course is in­spired by artist Damien Hirst’s psy­che­delic spin paint­ing, art is more than a source of in­spi­ra­tion.

“Art re­minds you to keep a small win­dow open for ev­ery­day po­etry, and when that hap­pens, the most mun­dane ob­ject turns to gold,“says the chef. “A lemon tart drops and you re­alise that’s the next recipe,“he adds, re­fer­ring to his dessert ‘oops I dropped the lemon tart’, which looks straight out of Jack­son Pollock’s stu­dio.

Ben Shewry of­fers nos­tal­gic Aus­traliana – ‘cuppa tea & bikkies in the gar­den’ – at his Mel­bourne fine- diner At­tica, while James Gaag, at La Colombe in South Africa, serves his whim­si­cal Alice in Won­der­land-themed course in a se­cret gar­den be­hind a non­de­script door in the din­ing room.

In Cape Town’s The Test Kitchen, art and theatre are part of the show. Map in hand, din­ers pass through a dark room cloaked in Ja­panese charred-wood in­stal­la­tions, be­fore ‘see­ing the light’ in a room alive with clas­si­cal mu­sic and white table­cloths. “The drama and art com­plete the ex­pe­ri­ence,” says chef-owner Luke Dale-Roberts.

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