|Steinbeisser’s Experimental Gastronomy
|Food Design / Gastronomy, Industrial / Product Design
Its name, possibly inspired by one of the many Dutch idioms, Steinbeisser (“rock biter”) is an Amsterdam-based company that definitely likes to play with its food. Founded in 2012 by Jouw Wijnsma and Martin Kullik, Steinbeisser organises Experimental Gastronomy, an annual event where avant-garde design and gastronomy merge to create new and utterly unusual food experiences. For each edition of Experimental Gastronomy, Steinbeisser collaborates with a different chef to create a menu using only plants and vegan based ingredients, all served in sculptural objects that vaguely reminisce of dishes, trays and bowls. Guests are then expected to taste the food using quirky cutlery designed especially for each event; previous editions for example involved silver forks giving you the finger, and actual wrenches that had spoons growing out of their handles.
This year, Experimental Gastronomy travelled to the outskirts of Basel, Switzerland, to meet chef Tanja Grandits (of the 2-Michelin star restaurant Stucki) at the magical gardens of the Merian Gärten restaurant for a two-day event (14-15 September). Eight different artists were invited to design the tableware, using a diverse array of materials that includes seaweed, earth and metals. Of particular interest are the utterly unpractical cutlery by artists Gabi Veit and Stuart Cairns, which definitely stuck its tongue out at table manners as it challenges guests to rethink the overall experience of consuming food. In reality, “challenge” might be too weak a word to describe what was expected from guests, considering that their dinner involved using a spoon covered in thorns.
Since September 1st, many of the artistic objects created for Steinbeisser have become available for sale on the company’s new online shop, Jouw. Each a one-of-a-kind item created exclusively for Steinbeisser, these amazing artefacts reveal how food can trigger ingenuity and give rise to new experiences, all within the intimate world of dining. Items that stand out for their uniqueness and originality include a spoon that’s also a pair of scissors by Nils Hint (perfect for chopping up your own salad), the poetic Triple Spoon by Maki Okamoto, and the monolithic Block Spoon by Stian Korntved Ruud.