I had a salad last week that I can’t stop thinking about.
It was part of a lunch cooked by Ben Spalding representing the sort of thing we’ll all be eating in the year 2063. As part of the London Design Festival, Miele collaborated with Ben to create a futuristic foodie vision, more of which you can check out here. I was intrigued as I’d heard a lot about Ben, who’s worked with the likes of Heston and Raymond Blanc, but had never actually had the chance to try his cooking before.
Turns out that he’s a bit of a creative genius. I really admire his experimental approach to food and his contempt for any sort of waste (this is someone who likes to make interesting things to eat from burnt lime rind and banana peel). I also like the way he challenges conventional fine dining norms. “Cucumber and vodka” turned out to be a gel that we licked from the back of our hands (because let’s face it, all food tastes better when you do away with cutlery). We kicked things off with Patrik’s raw butter from Goteborg, sourdough loaf whipped malt bread and fermented elderflower. Veal brain dumplings with 3 month old kimchi was presented in an uber kawaii mini bamboo steamer and served with a crazy cocktail containing clamped carrot juice, tonka beans, tuna mayonnaise and lime which sounded disgusting but tasted like a well rounded virgin Mary with a kick. Yum. This functional food cocktail was supposed to contain all the essential minerals and macro nutrients we’ll need to survive. Sticky rice with a savoury gravy was also lush (I skipped on the pork but was told it was very good). But for me, it was all about that salad. Every mouthful a lucky dip of liquorice, intensely sweet peach, aniseed here, earthy salty beetroot there, and a whole load of other stuff we couldn’t even begin to identify. All the ingredients were sourced from within London and the cress was grown in a prototype farmino machine. We finished with a microwave cake with iced lemon thyme and muscovado sugar that was the very essence of strawberry shortcake dolls (in a good way).
I came away feeling inspired, full, thoroughly spoilt and like I could really, really do with a farmino machine in my life.