Afterthoughts: Tasting + Tea
Reflecting is a process that I find very helpful not only in learning from an experience, but also for revisiting those memories. Although this piece has come about a little later than I had originally intended to, here are some afterthoughts on my first ever pop-up event, as well as the inspirations behind. In particular, I have always wanted to know a bit more about the thinking behind the design of a menu, so I would like to take this opportunity to share some of mine with you.
The reason for starting the Tasting + series (hopefully) of events is to share my passion for food with others, whilst bringing together people from various backgrounds through sharing a common experience. The idea is to take people on a little journey, exploring flavours from different cultures and contexts, tapping into some memories, but at the same time creating new ones.
For the first event, Tasting + Tea takes the form of an afternoon tea. This quintessentially British affair is often associated with tradition and history, however, the most important part of it for me is its social gathering aspect. The sharing and exchanging of thoughts over food and drinks should go beyond boarders and cultures, and I wanted to highlight this through the use of flavours from all over the world, as well as serving it in a sharing style to encourage interactions between people.
The menu is laid out in three sections, each representing a course, and within each course there are 3 major components. The element of three resonates throughout the menu, as inspiration was taken from the traditional 3-tiered afternoon tea set. The sections are related to the different phases in the life cycle of food, exploring various stages, from sourcing to preparing to serving.
From the Kitchen features the techniques/methods used within the first course, highlighting key elements that contributed to enhancing the flavours and textures of the different components.
On the Table explores the most fundamental part of a meal in many cultures: bread & butter (and jam). The act of sharing bread at the table is also symbolic of bringing people together through food, further emphasising the gathering aspect of the event.
In the Garden takes us on an exploration before we end our journey, and leads us to where some of the ingredients came from. The idea is to also take ingredients, in this case herbs, which are not usually associated with confectionaries, and feature their flavours in the final, and sweetest course.
Every journey ends with memories, and they are created by both the traveller and whom they meet along the way. I would like to end by thanking everyone who came on this excursion with me, it would not have been possible without any one of you, and I am grateful for all the support I got along the way.