Eating offers us both sustenance for survival as well as hedonistic pleasure. It is an intensely sensory experience and most importantly it is one of the most multisensory activities we as humans engage in multiple times per day.
Our expectations, judgements and enjoyment of food and flavour are all formulated in our minds based on sensory inputs (what we see, smell, taste, feel and hear). And while we mainly associate flavour with our sense of taste (salty, bitter, sour, sweet and umami) and our sense of smell, research shows that flavour is really a multisensory construct of all our senses coming together in a congruent manner.
Many cultures have a phrase along the lines of “you eat with your eyes” and most of us understand the importance of the visual presentation of food, but the other senses can get a little lost. Take sound for instance; the sizzle of a steak platter, crack of a crème brulee sugar crust or crunch of a tempurah coated shrimp are all ‘audio flavour’ cues your brain picks up and makes judgments based upon. Texture (as well as associated mouthfeel and temperature) is one of the most determining factors in regard to how much we will enjoy an ingredient or dish, this is particularly true for children but applies to most adults too.
So multisensory dining is essentially an experience in which all your senses are stimulated.
At Kitchen Theory we consider every sense when designing both our multisensory dining experiences and events as well as the details for each dish in an effort to make our guests more mindful of the sensory pleasures that we sometimes take for granted when eating. In some cases, such as our chef’s table, the sensory aspects of the dish are heightened with the use of elements including soundscapes, projection mapping and the use of atomisers or dry ice. All of which is designed to draw the diner’s attention deeper into the dish and flavours, while immersing them further into the experience, adding a touch of magic and showmanship.