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Food and Design Unite at Maison & Objet

Frankie Unsworth checks out the annual Paris des Chefs showcase at Maison & Objet, which brings together chefs and designers in a series of unique collaborations.


February 2nd, 2012

What do the Campana brothers, a roe deer carcass and El Bulli’s former chef Albert Adria all have in common?

On Sunday 22 January, they all took to the stage at the 4th annual Paris des Chefs conference to perform as “live creative duos” in a 40-minute time slot.



Held in conjunction with Maison & Objet, despite distancing itself from Villepinte for the first time since it launched, the event kept firmly to its founding mission to open up the discussion on food and design.





Alex Atala, renowned rock star chef of Sao Paolo’s DOM and the quirky furniture designers Humberto and Fernando Campana opened the show demonstrating their improvised moulding skills on a traditional Brazilian coconut milk caramel.


Albert Adria, former El Bulli pastry chef known for the theatricality of his culinary style, took to the stage with Spanish designers Luesma Maymo and Vega Ortega to explain the fundamental role that crockery design plays in the eating experience.


“My artist is a butcher” was Swedish chef Bjorn Frantzen’s explanation for the hanging roe deer which joined him on stage, along with his butcher, who gracefully sculpted the beast into various parts from nose to tail while Frantzen cool smoked a tartare straight from the thigh meat.


But it was the new generation of chefs who stole the show. Blaine Wetzel, a 25 year old Noma alumnus and head chef of Willows Inn, teamed up with native American performing artist Gene Tagaban to deliver a tribute to their home, an isolated archipelago near Seattle. Wetzel plated one of his signature dishes, based around the local speciality ’Geoduck’, a giant clam look-alike, with enviable poise.


Paris’ creative culinary scene was well-represented by former graphic designer and current head chef of Septime, Bertrand Grebaut. His plating style, essentially a “game of textures and colours” constructed from one focal point and colour on the plate – in this case a humble pumpkin puree – showed how captivating the collaboration between food and design can really be.





Paris des Chefs

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