The Importance of Storytelling When Designing a Menu

Over the last 30 years the way we eat and the way food is created has developed. This is widely due to pioneers in multi-sensory cooking, Ferran Adria and Heston Bluemental both of whom explore the science behind cooking. Heston’s ‘Snail Porridge’ whilst not sounding particularly appetising to the eater was created to surprise and delight through taste, texture and presentation. According to Heston, dining at the Fat Duck is a journey where adventure and discovery awaits. A good story is engaging, and as an inspiration of ours, Heston combines both food and storytelling to create a theatrical experience that makes you smile. The Events Mill is known for producing multi-sensory, immersive adventures, such as this 21 course dining experience for Chivas Regal.

Snail Porridge

Food is one of the best ways to tie us to our past, conjure up memories and take us back to places we have visited. One restaurant that is built around the idea of storytelling is the aptly named Story, brain child of chef Tom Sellers, and a Michelin star recipient. Here the menu is like a novel with each course served as a chapter in his book that he invites you to be a part of. Chapter I: Childhood includes dishes such as ‘Bread and Dripping’ that pays homage to his father and his favourite 1950’s staple. When a menu is designed in a way that intrigues the diner the meal is more than just food on a plate; rather it becomes an exciting experience that they will never forget. Guests want to know the reasoning behind the dishes created and why the restaurant chose to serve them. By invoking memories, senses and emotions are heightened.

Italian chef Massimo Bottura is equally successful at bringing stories to life through food. His menu at Osteria Francescana tells a tale of Tradition in Evolution. It explores the changing world through food, telling historical stories that look at our past, present and future. His cuisine is much like a work of art leading to his restaurant being considered one of the best in the world.

Sea scallops

Stories are often surprising. One restaurant designed to surprise is The Memento: A Linea in Chicago, where the menu is offered at the end of the meal. Dinner here is more of a performance and the menu is given as a keep-sake. However, this is not the only restaurant astonishing guests. Dans Le Noir in Farringdon invented the concept of ‘tasting in the dark’ throwing the idea that we eat with our eyes completely out the window. Without any preconceptions guests have to simply rely on their smell and pallet.

Dans le Noir Dish

We live in a world where anything is possible, especially with food, but most importantly a world where stories are preserved through our memories and nostalgic experiences that stay with us forever.

Author: Sarah Guthrie for an on behalf of The Events Mill

Image credits:  World of Food by Carl Warner | Snail Porridge – credit Laurie Fletcher, Food Arts | Chapter II: Sea – Scallops – credit Restaurant Story | Bottura’s restaurant Osteria Francescana | Dans Le Noir

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