Irish designer creates molecular gastronomy cooking model

A young Irish designer has put a new, adult twist to the notion of playing with your food.

It may fly in the face of conventional table manners, but Ahmad Fakhry's molecular gastronomy dining set, Eating Objects, gives guests full license to manipulate, fiddle and experiment with their dinner using syringes, beakers, and even a customized 'spherification' box that comes on each tray.

Inspired by some of the fathers and pioneers of molecular gastronomy like Ferran Adrià and Grant Achatz, the project is meant to make mad scientists of all diners: instead of meals that have already been metamorphosed and plated in the kitchen, guests are given the tools to make their own dinner, Fakhry, 23, said.

"The idea was to create an interactive experience where diners get to experiment with different techniques and processes," he said in an interview with Relaxnews. "It's a different kind of eating experience."

One box is designed specifically for spherification - in which liquids are passed through holes and morph into bubble-like spheres. Other instruments include vessels for sauces and liquids, a pipette, syringe and cutter which can also double as a funnel.

To complement the futuristic dining experience, Fakhry also placed cameras at each table setting underneath a semi-transparent tabletop. Whenever a diner picks up a tool, recognition technology projects an animated video showing diners what they can create with the instruments they chose.

A video demonstration on Vimeo, for instance, shows possible culinary creations that include green pea and truffle ravioli; arugula spaghetti and "air"; paintable food balls; nitrogen pops and a trio of black jellies.

Created as part of his graduate project out of the National College of Art & Design in Dublin, Fakhry designed the sets to be sleek, clean and minimalist so as not to "over-stimulate" the user.

Copper detailing on the porcelain tools was used for its luxurious appeal and for its ability to age well. But it was also chosen for its ability to bear scratch marks, he said, which adds "a more personal element to the experience."

His hope is to see the trays roll out in small-scale restaurants before going mid-market.

Fakhry is now co-founder of Designgoat with fellow NCAD graduate Cian Corcoran in Dublin.

To watch how Eating Objects can be used, visit http://vimeo.com/24775581.

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