It’s a foodie’s world that we live in. One in which, most – like yours truly – live to eat rather than eat to live.
But what about taking it one step further and really diving deep into the history and evolution of food? Into the science and sociology behind it. Even appreciating the fine art borne out of food as the subject.
All of the above is now possible courtesy of the wonderfully creative culinary duo, Bompas & Parr. This formidable force have previously sent coffee into space; orchestrated a 200-course 24-hour tasting menu (I kid you not); as well as recently devising a a “breathable cloud of cocktail”, a one-of-a-kind experience delivering G&Ts in an atomised form… that you inhale.
And now they’ve launched the British Museum of Food (BMOF) in Borough Market, the world’s first ever institution dedicated purely to exploring the culture of food, with the motto of “From Field to Table, Mouth… and Beyond.”
I excitedly headed over for a bloggers event on the day that it opened. Indeed, what better way to embark on such an adventure, than with fellow foodies ?
Be The Bolus
We began with a peristalsis experience “Be the Bolus”, that took us along the journey of food through the gut…
This had us sitting in incredibly strong massage chairs programmed to reverberate in sync with the video footage we were simultaneously watching of a camera passing down the alimentary canal… we were essentially the food being digested.
Next, we participated in an experiment on how the medium of sound affects our tastebuds!
Our investigation had us go around four booths in which we sampled chocolates while listening to different soundtracks and filling in a questionnaire indicating our experience – once aggregated, the results are to be sent to Oggsford University (my alma mater!) for further study… I always knew that my love for cocoa beans would serve a higher purpose.
Atelier of Flavour
As we walked up to the next level, we delved further into the concept of food as art through a series of quirky artworks, in which artists have depicted a typical English Breakfast in atypical ways, including a knitted full English…
The British Menu Archive
We paused to admire the beautiful collection of British menus, dating back to the Victorian times…
The Butterfly Effect
Before rounding off our education for the afternoon in the butterfly room, heated to 30 degrees centigrade in order to house the large number of very large butterflies circling around banana plants (a tribute to the building’s heritage as a banana warehouse!).
The experience here seeks to demonstrate the significant role of these beautiful winged creatures in terms of pollination and crop cultivation, thus raising awareness of global food security concerns…
It was an afternoon very well spent.
And it was an absolute pleasure – and inspiration – to meet and chat with Sam Bompas. This latest project has been in the works for a long time and is extremely close to his and his business partner and chum, Harry Parr’s heart. A manifestation of their hunger and passion for seeking out new ways to communicate food and drink, the journey’s led them back to where it all started.
The pair are working to see BMOF established as a permanent museum in the future. In the meantime, we can expect plenty more rabbits to appear out of their imaginative hats including potentially, an iceberg tugged all the way from Newfoundland for making cocktails!
Wednesday to Friday : 12pm – 6pm; Saturday : 10am – 6pm; Sunday : 10am – 5pm
1, Cathedral street SE1 9DE London