Gastrophysics serves up Next Level multi-sensory Dining
October 18 2018
Why do we eat more when we’re dining with a friend? Do we pick up subtler aromas when blindfolded? What effect does the weight of the cutlery or the colour of the ingredients have on our tastebuds? These are the questions that are posed by Chef Jozef Youssef and Kitchen Theory, through London’s most immersive new private dining concept - Gastrophysics.
‘Gastrophysics' is defined as the science behind eating. This science is all about analysing the way food makes us behave, and how we use all of our senses to interpret the flavours we are experiencing. The term was devised by Oxford University professor Charles Spence; who explored how different stimuli could change a dining experience. Just like Professor Spence who famously said, “The pleasures of food lie mostly in the mind, not in the mouth”, Kitchen Theory is out to test the ‘theory’ on how much of our food is actually experienced beyond flavour.
After spending years at Michelin-starred kitchens like The Fat Duck, Chef Youssef discovered his love for molecular gastronomy and launched his own gastronomy design studio - Kitchen Theory
. Professor Spence was brought in as a director, whilst Youssef took on the role of chef patron. They decided to house their innovation lab in a former toothpaste factory in High Barnet, which includes an open kitchen, gallery, screening room, and study.
“Like all chef’s tables, delicious, satiating food is our primary focus. However, unlike other chef’s tables we research the science of sensory flavour perception, and this allows us to create more sensory and immersive dining experiences for our guests to enjoy,” - Chef Youssef.
At the Gastrophysics Chef’s Table, diners are treated to an evening where their senses are challenged, and where everything they knew about food is questioned. Ten guests spend three to four hours with Chef Youssef and his team and enjoy a meticulously designed ten course meal. During this time, they are taken on a visceral journey through a series of mind-bending multi-sensory projections. 10 courses + 10 guests + 4 hours of out of this world culinary immersion = one heck of a gastronomic evening.
Chef Youssef utilises time-honed European techniques combined with a unique mix of Japanese minimalism and Mexican vibrancy. A sample menu at Gastrophysics includes dishes like “An Education in Umami," which features a distinct combo of parmesan, white chocolate, and mushroom. There’s also the “Believe Nothing of What You Hear," which involves donning a pair of headphones that detect how different frequencies impact the flavours and textures in the dish.
Though some may picture Gastrophysics as a team of mad scientists cooking up a storm an eccentric culinary laboratory, (Quite possibly picturing beakers filled with umami and bunsen burners brewing up some flavoured foam) the Kitchen Theory team is firing on all cylinders to push the boundaries of how we enjoy food. Showing us how to enjoy the dining experience with not just one, but every single one of our five senses.
Words by Ina Yulo
The Gastrophysics Chef’s Table is open to the public on the last weekend of every month. Private dinners can also be hosted at any time for 8-10 guests.
APLO EDITOR SAYS
With so much food literally and figuratively on the table here in London; it takes a certain kind or ‘special’ to make us get up off our seats and press “book now”; and this is something that Chef Josef and Gastrophysics definitely have in spades.
Check out some of our other Food Stories on APLO