Marije Vogelzang is a Design Academy of Eindhoven grad, so maybe some of my mates might know her. So she’s basically a food designer. Who’s basis is Industrial Design. Her “restaurant” is Proef, which is a space for her to showcase her ideas, which sort of have an earnest desire to introduce a sense of newness to the activity that is eating. Some of her ideas include recasting root vegetables in clay molds and then baking them to serve. This method is an old one and varies around the world, like the Chinese Beggar’s Chicken for instance. Suffice to say, it helps to retain moisture but when you listen to Vogelzang talk about it, she introduces a lot of poetic idea elements to the process itself. That you can check out on the Gestalten website, which also published a book in 2008, crEATe, which looks at food experiences and has some of Vogelzang’s work. A closer look though is available in BIS Publishers‘ Eat Love, which features much of her work.

One cute product she makes are marshmallows in the shape of icebergs, faceted rock shape things that maybe don’t quite look like the real thing. However, the intention is for them to melt into your hot chocolate, which has this subtly stinging climate change sorta warning behind it if you’d care.

More than just a veiled social conscience, she also takes a look at food experiences from various viewpoints, like from a sensual perspective or a cultural one. The Connection Dinner is one that has guests eating off a table draped with a layer of pastry. That pastry had been cooked by anglepoise lamps the day before and the table is served with various things. Because everyone’s eating the same sheet of pastry, they’re sharing the meal together and hence, are connected. Removing the top layer of pastry reveals another one, that’s served for dessert.

Whilst the ideas are outlandish and probably more whimsy and idea than gastronomy or profit, it’s a hella interesting take on a “restaurant” concept. Instead of just eating to consume, the ritual becomes an engaging, performance art episode with the guests involved, debating and talking and eating. This is something that challenges and brings to fore the many things involved in bringing food to a table, from the food itself, where it comes from, who made it and how it was prepared to the setting. Where are you eating? Who with? With what? To the context. Is the food remniscent of childhood or perhaps opening up dialogue with regards to the environment?

I’d love to just pop over to the Netherlands just to check this place out and maybe get involved and just have some fun. Cos it looks like a lot of. It’s literally like Droog Design meets food.