We live in a pretty food-obsessed society. It’s become the norm to Instagram pics of avocado on toast, chat about where to buy the best artisan coffee and even moot the myriad uses for Himalayan pink salt (okay we’re not that bad!) But for all you foodie junkies out there, there’s a new documentary on the scene that’s serious food for thought – Tasteology.
Talking to chefs, a chemist, food waste activist and even a psychologist, Tasteology lifts the lid on why we eat what we do, making us question the very relationship we have with our food. Over the course of four 15 minute episodes, we meet Satchiko and Hisato Nakahigashi (owners of a Michelin starred restaurant in Kyoto where all the dishes are made entirely from foraged ingredients), American author, Mark Schatzker, who argues what artificial flavours have done to our eating habits and Tristam Stuart, who explores alternative ways of eating that don’t cause planetary destruction.
But there’s more to whet your appetite than the question of what we eat and where it’s come from. Tasteology also explores how you can create the ultimate flavour experience or, in other words, what you need to make food taste sublime. Catalina Velez, one of the world’s most influential Latin-American chefs (and incidentally as beautiful as Angelina Jolie), demonstrates how steaming food can create the best taste, Professor of Psychology, Charles Spence explains how music and even the colour of a plate can change the flavour of food and Instagram sensation, Chef ‘Jacques la Merde’ (a.k.a. Christine Flynn) shows with an artistic flourish that clever presentation can make even Doritos look Michelin-starred.
So black has a smell and bitter a colour. Ingredients from a petrol station can look sensational. And through foraging, we can learn the Japanese art of Tsumikasa (hunting with respect). But perhaps the greatest takeaway from Tasteology is the fusion of science and art that our experience of food can demand as demonstrated by Jozef Youssef, author, chef patron and founder of the gastronomic project Kitchen Theory. One that makes food more than just about nutrition, but a pleasure for all the senses.
Tasteology is available to watch for free here and will also be screened at Taste of London, Regent’s Park, 15-19 June.