I was lucky enough to get a few minutes with Gingerline’s creators to ask how they go about what they do. Im also even more lucky to be able to say that tonight I am off to a taster session of the newest installment of Chambers of Flavour – a multi dimensional immersive food and drink experience which comes to London in September
What made you decide to mix theatre with food and drink?
My partner, Kerry Adamson, and are both have a huge love for amazing food, great performance and unusual experiences. I’m a massive foodie, and Kerry is a performance artist so to us it made sense to combine our two worlds in order to create what was initially amazing dinner parties which would transform the way people eat out. We started out in our kitchen hosting pop-up supper clubs playing around with this performance meets art meets music meets food and along the way invented what is now popularly known as ‘immersive dining’ and what Gingerline is now today.
How do you even go about picking your theme? 5 parallel universes? That’s quite a feat
“It certainly is no mean feat as you say! The way we pick our ideas changes for Classic Gingerline, our nomadic dining experience, always starts with the space we are working in. Chambers of Flavour, as a multi-dimensional experience, is an exception – It was a format we wanted to create which allowed maximum flexibility within one single location. So the hardware of the set, can stay the same but the interior of the spaces can be anything we choose. We can create all sorts of contrasting world within the set and the more weird and wonderful the better the experience of the guests. The start of the development process for the 2 Gingerline formats is quite different.
“With both however, there is a lot of back and forth between us and the creative teams involved because while we may have what we think is an exciting idea, we have to balance the different needs of our guests. So we’re always asking ourselves ‘Is this too much to ask people to do after eating their fourth course?’; ‘Is this safe while people are carrying bottles of drink?’ etc.There can’t be any cutting corners when designing an immersive dining experience like this and it’s a lengthy process.
What’s the biggest issue logistically?
“It’s a combination of things really. First there’s getting people to our venues – everything is shrouded in secrecy until the night of the experience and we rely on people being able to travel on the London Overground to find us. If there’s a strike or issue with the trains, then that’s a big issue! Most of our guests, however, will climb through hell and high water to get to our events, so we’ve never had too much of a disaster when transport goes wrong!
“With Chambers of Flavour, the logistics are mind boggling, because we have five groups of 16 in the Machine at any one time, each being served their courses at slightly different times, timing is critical as we must make sure that the food is hot, people don’t feel rushed, and they get to enjoy their surroundings before we move them into the next reality. It’s a feat of co-ordination between our service, bar, kitchen, and performance teams. We had to develop our own software to even start to make sense of it”
You provide food which is not for the meek of pallet – do you worry that some people may be too squeamish?
“We obviously consider this as part of our creative process, however our reputation is based on the fact that secrecy is a huge part of the experience. Because of this we find that we appeal more to open-minded individuals who are willing to let everything they know about food and immersive performance go and embrace the world that they are presented with.
“We’re also really great at catering for different dietary requirements so those who have any concerns are able to share those with us and we can make sure they are catered for. Dietary issues are a huge challenge to use, especially at Chambers of Flavour, given the nature of the food service. So we are able to cater for allergies or dietary issues, ”
Why do you think these events are so popular?
“There are probably a whole multitude of reasons, but for us, our focus is just creating our idea of the perfect most memorable night out. I think that’s key. If we were concerned with following market trends 6 years ago, we would not be doing what we are doing. We’re pleased that people respond well and are excited by the what we’ve created to date. In a wider context, I think food and theatre enthusiasts want to be wowed, entertained and told a story – whether that’s understanding the journey from field to plate in a fine dining restaurant, a waiter full of personality in a high street chain or hunting for their starters in a forest, having arrived by boat.
“There is also a real need for adventure which isn’t surprising when our daily lives can be so regimented and devoid of spontaneity. Yet we’re all children at heart so we seek out opportunities to relive the fun of our childhood!”
Who is this show aimed at?
“We have a strong following of people who have been to many of our experiences before. they are our toughest audience. Generally, I think our events appeal to those with an open-mind who wants to experience something that is truly original. Someone who is willing to let all pre-conceptions go and embrace what they will find when they walk through our hidden doors. We’re not for everyone, though those who are brave enough to join us on one of our adventures will never look back!”
What do you want people to take away from the experience
“We want people to be wowed. From the moment they receive the text message with directions to our location, we’re in control of every sense they possess and so we want to do that justice by manipulating each and every sound, taste, feel and smell to build the ultimate night out for them and their fellow diners. And then we want them to keep the secret – which we reward them for as part of our Alumni.
“We know we’ve created a special experience when not one of the 10,000 people, who will enjoy it during the short run, shares a picture, checks in or tweets the concept. In a world where everything is about likes and comments, that level of loyalty is something special.”
So that’s everything you need to/can know about Chamber of Flavour v2.0, and you’ve got to be intrigued…if you’re not, I question why!? I cannot wait to experience tonight’s ultra secret taster event and updates ( the ones I’m allowed to divulge) will follow later tonight
For details of Chamber of Flavour v2.0 go to http://www.chambersofflavour.co.uk/
Unfortunately tickets are current sold out for Autumn 2016 but the website says to keep your eyes peeled for updates. There are also other events including the Classic Gingerlines Returns which still have tickets remaining