This summer’s most ambitious exhibition, FOOD: Bigger Than the Plate is a thought-provoking show that brings together vintage advertising, engaging artworks and impressive installations to challenge the way we perceive what’s on our plate. Launching at the V&A on 18th May 2019, it serves up everything from cutting-edge scientific studies to opinionated debates about sustainability. Moments from The Egerton House Hotel, the display includes peculiar foodie novelties drawn from the V&A’s collections and an immersive demonstration of the farm-to-fork journey. Here’s why FOOD: Bigger Than the Plate is causing such a fuss.
Food and our relationship to it has increasingly piqued global interest, with attitudes taking on an increasingly sceptical slant. Which chemicals are pumped into our produce? Are labels telling the truth? Where has the punnet of strawberries in our shopping trolley come from? FOOD: Bigger Than the Plate tackles all these questions, and poses more. Over 70 contemporary projects, in the form of artwork, installations and submissions from chefs and farmers, designers and local communities, supply new-wave ideas for alternative food futures. Some of less-conventional offerings include cheese cultures made from human bacteria, an edible water bottle by Ooho! and GroCycle’s creative urban mushroom farm. It’s a fascinating insight into how innovative minds are reinventing the food industry.
Not just a feast for the eyes and mind, FOOD: Bigger than the plate has something for taste buds too. Local start-up Company Drinks’ bar keeps attendees well-watered. The enterprise encourages the community to pick ingredients, process, produce and enjoy drinks infused with ingredients such as elderflower, cherries, blackcurrants and strawberries. Don’t miss a sip on the exceedingly good Bad Cola.
A bespoke wallpaper by artists Fallen Fruit injects the Farming section with saturated colour. This area focuses on how forward-thinking technologies could alter how we grow and farm food. Look out for pedal-power project Bicitractor, developed by Farming Soul in aid of small-scale farmers, in addition to a working model of MIT’s Food Computer, which simulates the natural conditions needed to grow crops in unique environments.
“Food is one of the most powerful tools through which we shape the world, from how we create society to how we determine our relationship with the natural world. In an era of major ecological challenges, fast-changing societies and technological re-invention, now is a crucial moment to ask what kind of food future do we want? What could it look like? And taste like?” say Catherine Flood and May Rosenthal Sloan, co-curators of FOOD: Bigger than the Plate.
All that talk of food could well work up an appetite. For an indulgent post-exhibition gastronomic experience, enjoy an elegant Afternoon Tea at The Egerton House Hotel. In keeping with the theme of the exhibition, there are light gluten-free and vegan cakes, sandwiches and desserts. Even pups are catered for, with doggy ice cream and canine-friendly meatloaf presented on a traditional tiered stand. Committed to sustainability, The Red Carnation Hotel Collection limits food waste wherever possible and uses ingredients from local producers across its restaurants.