A unique dinner challenge where guests "hunt" for local ingredients prior to the dinner and gather to cook a spontaneous 4 course meal with Chef Leif.
A special bag with an official invite and “hunting” instructions will be mailed to each guest. Each invite will include unique ingredient descriptions (green, leafy, or bitter for example), and guests will be challenged to interpret and source a fruit, vegetable, or herb to complement the meal. Participants are encouraged to forage, pick, or purchase their finds and gather information about its origin. The menu will ultimately be determined by the particular choices and interpretations of each guest.
Once the ingredients have been brought to the table, guests will have the opportunity to share their choice. With no preparation, the chef will be challenged to spontaneously design, prepare and plate an entire 4 course meal based on the collective ingredients, with the addition of chef provided seafood and meat. All guests will share in the cooking process with our head chef.
Leif Hedendal is a cook and artist who's work focuses on eating design, social practices, underground dining, pedagogy, health, agriculture, and food politics. Having trained at noma (rated #1 restaurant in the world since 2010), Chez Panisse, Citron, Greens, and numerous Barcelona restaurants, his cuisine focuses on micro-seasonality, humanely raised meat, under–utilized vegetables, urban ag, and wild forage. He has done food–based work with SFMOMA, YBCA, Berkeley Art Museum, Kadist SF, Soex, Catharine Clark Gallery, Triple Base Gallery, Garage Biennial, Studio for Urban Projects, Kinfolk Magazine, OPENrestaurant, Art In General (NYC), Space All Over (NYC), Ballroom Marfa, NADA at Art Basel Miami, Open Engagement (Portland), He Said She Said (Chicago), Roots and Culture (Chicago), and InCUBATE (Chicago). Leif's ongoing project since 2008, Dinner Discussion, a series of meals bringing together artists, food activists, curators, and writers to discuss their projects and form connections, has traveled to Copenhagen, NYC, and Chicago. He has been a guest lecturer at Harvard, CCA, SFAI, Mills College, and the Danish Royal Academy of Art.
One of the first things we learn as a toddler is how to use a spoon and fork. We are scolded for playing with our food, and discouraged to eat with our hands. We learn to be “civilized;” to carry a spoonful of soup to the mouth, to cut bite size pieces of steak, to twirl spaghetti around a fork. Connecting with food through tools is one of the first ways we interact with objects and learn survival.
In the Middle Ages, utensils were status symbols, used only by the wealthy. Although at the time it was not considered necessary, people used them to flaunt highly decorative utensils made of rare stones and metals.
With the exception of finger foods such as burgers, and sandwiches, we rarely use our bare hands to consume, not to mention create food. Utensils are certainly useful, however they further remove us from experiencing food by creating a layer between the food and the body. This meal attempts to remove that layer and explore a more direct relationship to the food we consume. How do we make a pesto sauce without knives? Is it possible to whip cream without a blender or whisk? How does one measure ingredients without a standard measuring cup? Does the eating experience alter radically if we remove the layer of the tool and have direct contact with our food at all times?
A casual showing of B movies turns into an elaborate underground theater with the help of robots and concessions by Thought for Food. The summer series curated by Sam included Black Narcissus, Pirahna 3d, Repo Man, and Total Recall. We carefully curated a menu specific to each movie. Flavored popcorns and sodas with some special sweets where inspired by people, places and happening in the film you were about to see. If you’re familiar with these movies you understand the meanings. Otherwise the significance is reveled as the night unfolds.
For this over the top and bloody movie, we created drinks that bled. Body shot was a watermelon chunk soaked in cherry concentrate that was served in a shot of vodka and looked like a piece of bloody flesh. Flesh wound was a lime soda with a mangled black cherry and a cherry ice cube that slowly turned the drink red as the night went on and the excitement kicked in. We also created a popcorn flavor called Lake Victoria, which consisted of dried seaweed and bonito flakes.
The Frenshner – cookies made with custom cutters and stencils to look like car air freshners featured in the film.
White on White was a meal created for the all white event, Le Diner a San Francisco. The elegant flash picnic brought together thousands of guests dressed in formal white attire, lugging in their own meals, chairs, and bubbly to a secret location for a night of food, music, and dancing. Thought for Food took the opportunity to push the limits of the theme by exploring the spectrum of white - its variations, textures, and flavors in a multi-course meal.
For the trek to the picnic destination we created a set of toolbox inspired benches, which were used to carry in our supplies – ingredients, place settings, and décor. These were later used as dining benches for our guests.
The meal itself was prepared in advance and each course, composed of white ingredients, was plated on site. Each of the nine courses focused on a single essence of the color.
Foam – Egg white, Pisco, lemon, sugar.
Milk- Mitico - Spain, Gouda – Europe, Honey Chevre – Holland, Bijou – Vermont.
Light – Endive, shaved pear, gorgonzola, vinaigrette.
Cream – Corn, crème fraiche, onion, white truffle oil, cream, white pepper.
Salt – Halibut, scallop, lime and grapefruit, aji Amarillo, jicama, onion, chip.
Frost – Pear, Riesling, sugar.
Smoke – Chicken, mushroom, bacon, corona beans, leek, onion, creamy broth.
Snow – Meringue, coconut mocha ice cream, white chocolate truffle.
Steam – White tea.
Thought for Food was recently invited to create a food experience for the opening of the Deep Craft Atelier Pop-up. The three week shop led and curated by artist, Scott Constable, featured his Deep Deck longboard skateboard, an on site manufactory, and a gallery carrying surf and skate inspired goods from local artists and designers. The event kicked off the launch of Storefront Lab, a year-long program developed by Yosh Asato and David Baker, exploring storefronts as places of community, creativity and local industry.
For the event, Thought for Food took inspiration from the beach vendors that might hang out on a boardwalk, comb the beaches, or otherwise contribute to a culture rooted in California in the 1960's. What more fitting way to find refreshment than from a popsicle? Made for one, designed for quick consumption with flavors that reflected sun, sand and sea. We imagined how these three staples of either surf or skate life might taste and called them "Surf Pops".
Seeds, flowers, nectar, bees, pollen, honey, wax, extraction, consumption, pollination, fruit, seeds, flowers—it's a miraculous loop fundamental to our entire ecosystem. But beyond our appreciation of this natural cycle, we love that honey reflects the environment through the essence of the flowers the nectar was collected. We are drawn to the formal properties of honey as a material—it's fluctuating viscosity as well as it's ability to both absorb and refract light. Spun Honey concentrates on the process of how honey is made and consumed, inviting the participant to take part in a kinetic loop where a simple mechanical effort—a method inspired by traditional honey extraction—withdraws the honey and drizzles it on a tart. To perpetuate the cycle, participants are encouraged to take away a seed packet to plant the seeds for future honey.
Ingredients: Local Wildflower Honey, Cream Cheese, Shortbread, Wildflowers
Materials: Beeswax, Wood, Rope, Wildflower Seeds, Vellum, Hardware