Interview with Adam Thomason: Food in Sensory Art and Performance

stretch your limits

Hi Adam, please introduce yourself and your involvement with Open Senses?

I’m Adam, I’m a chef who works with Eileih Muir (who is both my partner, and one of the choreographers) at BitterSuite.

BitterSuite was started to make classical music accessible. Now it has developed so that every area matters – including taste which is where I come in! It’s not the main focus however, it’s just part of the whole experience – but a much appreciated one!

I create ideas. I take the feelings, emotions and sound that Steph gives me and see how taste can enhance that part of the music to accentuate the experience as a whole.

Flavour&Some is our company. We won’t be performing in Open Senses this time around, but you can come and experience all the flavours of BitterSuite through the festival.

What can we look forward to with Flavour&Some in the future?

It was a concept where we took to move the food element up to be a larger part, with a lot more choreography (Eileih’s passion).

The idea is that you can have a night out with a meal followed by theatre, which are separate events. We have created a night out where the drink, food and dance/movement/music performance are uniquely combined. It’s a completely different concept that relies heavily on the visual spectacle unlike the blindfolded ‘in your head’ world that BitterSuite evokes.

How did you get into the sensory stratosphere from being a chef?

Eileih first met Steph and helped from the start with BitterSuite. When asked to bring in the food element, with my background as a chef for half my life, I jumped at the chance! It wasn’t even a question if I wanted to do it!

It is a real chef’s dream to create something completely new and be encouraged to push the boundaries of taste and flavour. Spraying scents, changing lights to season the dish, and now creating sometimes unpleasant food to match an uncomfortable piece of music – something you would never do in a commercial kitchen! A great fun challenge: taking a person to another imaginary world through taste and flavour.

What can people look forward to with your tastes at the festival?

Ah, that would be telling, come and experience it for yourself!

How would you describe it in three words?

Stretch your limits.

In particular why do you think the senses are important?

When you highlight all the senses you have a better all-round experience. You can mess around with them and see how they interact with one another. It’s enjoyable to experiment and see what result you get. It’s fun. It makes you think. Be inquisitive and consider what you experience and importantly why you think so.

What else are you looking forward to seeing at the festival?

 Sarah McCartney's smells at the BitterSuite concert! Smell is such a huge part of my job and I feel I know nothing when I talk to Sarah. A whole new world of incredible thought process I never dreamt of is revealed when I speak with her.

How would you like your work to develop in the future?

I’d like a playground to be imaginative in and grow and expand the ideas with no limits. I would love to take the industry further. Make immersive dining a real thing, not a fad. See how music can season food. I want to create a space where every meal is 'Wow'!

Looking forward to it! And three words to describe how you feel about the festival?

 I can’t wait!

Start your own conversation @OpenSensesUK #OpenSenses2017, this conversation initiated by Natasha Blok.