Growing up in suburban America as a third generation child from a melting pot of western European immigrants didn’t lend itself too well to picturesque, detailed, or highly spiritual rituals when it came to dining experiences or family gatherings. Mostly our family passed down a handful of recipes prepared and served up simply to satisfy hunger, used in rotation, with very little deviation or integration of contemporary western and non-western practices. Nevertheless, this was the standard of dining throughout my childhood and it set my dining bar low from an early age. Now as an adult, and after starting a career in design, I see the more thought out, curated, and aesthetically pleasing dishes, dishware, and table settings as something desirable.
As summer slowly approaches, I for one am getting excited about hosting outdoor dining events in my newly procured backyard. Something that I am most excited about, aside from the company of friends, is the potential for creative place-making, scene-setting, and the manufacturing of aesthetically pleasing dishes, sides, desserts, and beverages. More recently, I’ve been on a mission to rediscover a lost passion for culinary aesthetics and the many joys that come with the art. I like to think of this art broken down into five categories:
Produce, spices, grains, meat, etc., for their natural colors, textures, sizes, and shapes.
Ceramics, cast irons, stainless steels, etc., simply for their well crafted, minimalistic, and tactile nature.
Porcelains, ceramics, silverware, coppers, etc., for their ergonomically driven design, added textures, minimalistic shapes, and sizes.
An assemblage of ingredients to formulate the perfect, mouth-watering, and instagrammable plate of healthy-ish fare.
Great lighting, landscape, and the articulation of the other previously mentioned four categories.
Now when planning events centered around food and/or beverages, no expense should be spared when selecting or piecing together all the ingredients that will make the experience that much more enjoyable. Starting with trips to the farmers market for those colorful tasty textures that will ultimately make up the meal, investing in beautiful dishware to compliment and contrast those ingredients, as well as adding a satisfying level of tactical ephemerality to the dining experience.
Finally, to create that ultimately enjoyable dining experience, invite the best of company, gather your favorite plants, incorporate some nice textured furniture, create a playlist, and plan for a day with some beautiful lighting.
Here's to a beautiful summer filled with memorable dining experiences!