Visiting an ex-local authority building on a Saturday evening was not the place I imagined I’d taste my first 20 year old vintage Chardonnay – but if you are one of the 200 guests to be attending the limited edition Waldorf Project this week, then actually, it will be. I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview of the event – which is an art experience with a difference.
The project is the brain child of Sean Rogg – artist, food enthusiast and lover of fine wines. He has brought together a mix of creatives: food designer Andrew Stellitano, production designer Gina Geoghegan, choreographer Imogen Knight and sound design group Walls – and his vision is to create a harmonious art/food experience. Taking the farming technique of Japanese Melonhusk as his inspiration – an elaborate process that attempts to attain a perfect ‘product’ by removing imperfections at various stages – Rogg has designed an event that ebbs and flows along the natural rhythms of nature, reaching a pinnacle of utter minimalist perfection, both of taste and art (okay, so I didn’t quite see this happen, but that’s the ideas he is working with). The experience is set over about 3 hours and 6 courses with as many vintage wines. Each course represents an element of the world and a stage of the farming process, until the dessert finale.
What Rogg is doing is most certainly different. Whilst other foodies are creating experiences left right and centre, they rarely try and position their work as fine art. And, he most certainly believes it is. At the German art festival Documenta in 2007, two random art visitors were offered a free ticket to el Bulli through one of the platforms they had dedicated to the emerging art/food collision. Rogg has enlisted the serious skills of Stellitano, who has plenty of experience trying to bridge a gap between food and art (he is also the man who created the most expensive mince pie!).
The real question is whether the team can actually pull this off, as it is certainly an experiment. And at £210 (!) a pop, it looks like it may be up to the glitterati to decide. All we can say is, watch this space. (Words: Laura Thornley)
The Waldorf Project runs until October 14th. For more info, visit: www.waldorfproject.com