Thursday, August 14, 2014

Two Long Tables - towards an authentic fine dining experience.

Two Long Tables inspired this blog post.

The first being a fine dining experience I enjoyed twice in the passed six months. A local celebrity, television presenter, Rita van der Heever, is the mastermind of a private dining experience, presented to close friends and associates in the comfort of her own home.  By invitation only, one receives a menu and the address and all you have to do is arrive to enjoy a fun filled evening with deliciously prepared and much loved comfort food with likeminded individuals. 
Surrounded by art and seated at a one-of-a-kind, bespoke Bloukrans Table, created and manufactured by Pierre Cronje, already makes for a unique dining experience.

This iconic design was inspired by Pierre’s experience working on the Bloukrans as a civil engineer. Seating 18 hungry stylish folks creates for a festive interactive dining experience like no other. (as sited at the Pierre Cronje website - follow the link above)
Rita van der Heever serves a three-course meal with panache, catering for all the senses. Homemade dishes are the best – tried and tested they are legendary – shaped and reworked over time - to perfection - and so it should be. For the love of food, wine and style - at the core of a fine dining experience. For more information to join the SMULPAPE  - send though your request to and you to can enjoy the fine dining experience.

What should one expect from a contemporary hospitality dining experience – albeit a home-industry setting and or your favourite restaurant downtown.

Food and design is experiencing far greater synergy as we embrace design and thinking through craft in the design and manufacture of innovative products for a holistic dining experience. Thinking through drawing, in developing concepts and design ideas, it is important to gain knowledge of the type of food and the products that support the envisaged dining experience.
The recipes that will make up the menu are as important as the design style of the ceramic serving dishes. Having knowledge of the history and an understanding of ceramic traditions as well as ceramic manufacturing techniques and methods all contribute to an authentic product development in support of the dining experience.  
The Ceramic discipline is deeply rooted in a broad range of art, design and craft traditions; extending from the east to the west, including Europe and more importantly Africa in between – laying the foundation for product development no matter the menu and or recipes to be cooked.

Fine dining and wining is a stylish affair; catering for all the senses, including visual, smell, touch and taste. However ergonomics and tactile qualities are as valuable as complimentary surface decoration. All-important applied ingredients in defining the gestalt of a contemporary designer maker approach to creative cultural product options (Concepts and ideas). 

Knowledge and an understanding of craft traditions is an advantage in the design for manufacture products, especially if we celebrating the handmade. It is even more important when we redefine food and design related products from a home-based cooking and dining experience. 
This needs to be seen in the context of the envisaged choice of ceramic dishes, its forms, shapes and surface development. Decoration is no longer a crime as we embrace an authentic approach to product design development and manufacture (in direct contrast to Modernism’s expressed view – ‘that decoration is a crime’).
Whether one is a ceramist, developing a new product range and or a passionate chef or confectionist, it is essential that both sides of the spectrum are addressed - to plan and implement a successful entrepreneurial business proposal. 

The restaurants interior (place – tables, chairs and textiles), the dining style; the food, wine and serving dishes (the space) and the ambiance, all contribute to a holistic eatery – an integrated authentic approach to wining and dining.  
Making money cooking at home is an option considered by a number of individuals at a time when cash is tight and extra income is required to combat tough times – cost increases on all fronts. However when it is your passion and you consider yourself to be the next master chef – then this might just be a creative way forward to generate extra income. Selecting the right dinner service and serving dishes are all part of the integrated fine dining experience.
100% Design South Africa held in association with Decorex 2014 Johannesburg, this passed weekend, presented the right opportunity to gain knowledge and insight into a wide range of product design options for your dining room table. For more information see alternative blog FADAGallery administered by the blogger.
This brings me to the second Long Table, a collaboration of 14 SA ceramists including well-known ceramists Nic Sithole, Andile Dyalvane, Mervyn Gers and the talented and master craftsperson Anthony Shapiro, that took first prize in the category Best Product Design. The stand was coordinated by ART in the Forest and incorporated a broad range of ceramic products in a wide variety of ceramic techniques and methods of construction, including surface decoration. The unique display consisted of wallpaper images of forests emulating the surroundings of the Cape Town based studio, ART in a Forest (images seen above).