TECTO-SENSORY ORIGIN

3 Forks Lab aspires to carve out its own gastronomic niche. We are constantly searching for ways to extract the most out of every ingredient — to make food an engrossing, multi-sensory experience. Although we are forward-looking in our approach, we are deeply respectful of culinary tradition and rather averse to culinary fads, an unfortunate byproduct of the contemporary media landscape. The parallel search for originality and authenticity has led us to look outside of our own field for inspiration.

‘Tecto-sensory’ cuisine is the fruit of those labours. The term — our own coinage — refers to the import of aesthetic principles from architecture into gastronomy. There are several reasons for which architecture is our ideal creative bedfellow. Gastronomy and architecture are naturally symbiotic art forms, since they spring from two of the most basic human needs: food and shelter. At its best, architecture exploits texture and light in a manner that is pleasing to the senses and in harmony with the natural environment; it is also highly flexible and endlessly innovative in its use of raw materials.

Tecto-sensory cuisine lets the vessel (the housing) partly determine the direction of a dish. We typically feature humble, everyday ingredients in the ‘leading’ role, while standout ingredients take a ‘supporting’ role — a reversal of common practice. Denying ourselves the attention-grabbing force of extravagant ingredients means we rely solely on technique to give our dishes gustatory, visual and emotional impact. This is akin to building a cathedral with straw. The task becomes less daunting with Mother Nature’s helping hand — her diversity already contains all the answers.

SYNTHESIS

3 Forks Lab’s activities are not confined to the kitchen. We invest heavily in basic research, and in building strong links with people and organisations involved in every facet of the food industry — all in search of a deep understanding of food in its natural and its cultural context.

We commit considerable time and resources in finding and analysing local ingredients. That means clocking up a lot of road miles. It also means maintaining an extensive network of local producers involved in agriculture, husbandry, wild game and fishery. Developed over the course of years, these relationships have themselves become an invaluable resource: first, they allow us to tap into a reservoir of empirically gained knowledge; second, direct access to producers gives us the ability to obtain products that are grown and handled according to our own specifications. Intimate knowledge of and personal involvement in the supply chain largely accounts for the originality and inimitability of our culinary concepts — they are literally built from the ground up.

Considerable time and resources also go into the meticulous documentation of ingredients, recipes and other types of practical culinary knowledge for which there exists no written record. This work is not done solely for its commercial applications. It is the way we actively contribute to the preservation of agro-diversity, biodiversity, and cultural tradition.

MANIFESTO

1. My cooking / My architecture is an investigation, an exploration, asking questions, a dialogue and a discussion with the person across the table. The chef / An endeavor refinement through time, trying different things, different combinations, rejecting what did not work, passing on what did, experimenting, exploring, pushing boundaries.

2. In making Gastronomy / Architecture, the Chef / Architect takes a position in time to create a situation, to facilitate encounters, to give form to dreams, and to crystallize wishes. The Chef / Architect selects a means of expression through drawing and photography, elements and textures. Yet eventually cooking / architecture becomes independent, ultimately a stage for human life.

3. Our perceptions are bound to our roots, our traditions. We use our memories during the process of creation. The atmosphere of cooking / architecture is usually expressions of embedded memories of its creators. Simultaneously, the appreciation of cooking / architecture depends also on the whole of memories and experience of its users. We can appreciate cooking / architecture through the experiences that we carry within us.

4. The chef’s / architect’s task is to create new dishes / an atmosphere in which tastes, flavors, textures, as well as life can unfold as it should. Cooking / Architecture can be interpreted as a mental process, its essence lies in materiality.

5. My aim is to expand the limit of basic materials towards optimum performance and sensitively incorporate the effects produced into my work.

6. I do not want to be a follower. Nor to lead. My aim is to give with my sharped instinct carved out, unique, personal and challenging paths, that are often accompanied by exhilaration and excitement when my visions and convictions are realized.

7. All the answers can be found through the thorough and conscious observation of the Nature.

8. Reason and logic have been sidelined and forgotten. Whatever you do, try to do it uniquely. Always start by asking yourself why.

9. Like Ulysses, during our journey as chefs, we should tie ourselves to the mast of reason and logic, so as not to be lured to our demise by the sirens of money or fashion or fame.

10. One of the foundations on which a chef / an architect must base his work is to look toward the future with an effort to discover the keys to create it. Understanding well the time we live in entails a profound knowledge of the past. Only then we can proceed -with one foot in the air or two sometimes- to leap into the future.

11. What is the future of Gastronomy / Architecture? I strongly believe that in the future, as in the past and present, the center of the question lies above and beyond form, alone and isolated, in the realm of ideas and creative minds. There are two elements that define creativity: the visionary and the technical. When the technique meets the vision and the utopian, almost unrealistic first thought becomes materialized, takes a shape and comes into being, then something entirely new and incredible is born.

12. A qualified chef needs to be capable of following through a variety of objectives, trained to be open to other art fields and mental activities, such as sculpture, scriptwriting, product design, human studies etc. One discipline is not a diversion from another. Diversions do not exist. Whatever man creates finds itself on the same level with everything else. Expression is a continuous and unending journey on the same route. It is also a subject to the same laws -those of essentiality- and each action is guided by the same hand and the same mental process. A chef’s hand oversees and guides each of our actions, our intuitions: it marks signs that conceal and encapsulate an aura of mystery, it reaches our emotional sphere, by telling stories, conveying passions and trends, inspiring creativity. inspired by GIO PONTI 1957 (debate between architecture & other artistic disciplines)

13. Η μαγειρική που εφαρμόζω αποτελεί προέκταση της έρευνας με την οποία ασχολούμαι, αφορμή για την οποία στάθηκαν μερικά ερωτήματα που εκ των προτέρων είχα θέσει: γιατί το φαγητό πρέπει να σερβίρεται σε πιάτο; Γιατί το πιάτο πρέπει να αποτελείται από ένα και μόνο κομμάτι; Στόχος μου αποτελεί ο σχεδιασμός μιας νέας μορφής σερβιρίσματος και παρουσίασης του εκάστοτε πιάτου. Η υλοποίηση αυτού του στόχου προϋποθέτει έναν παραγωγικό συγκερασμό της δικής μου Τέχνης -της μαγειρικής- με άλλα δημιουργικά πεδία, όπως η Γλυπτική, η Αρχιτεκτονική, ο Βιομηχανικός Σχεδιασμός, ο Αστικός Σχεδιασμός κτλ. Τα στοιχεία της προσωπικότητάς μου, οι ενδόμυχοι προβληματισμοί και οι σκέψεις που νιώθω την ανάγκη να εξωτερικεύσω έχουν να κάνουν με τη διάθεσή μου να εκφράσω ένα βαθύτερο σύστημα αισθητηριακών αξιών, μια ισχυρή πολιτισμική παράδοση, έναν απόλυτα συνειδητό και τολμηρό νεοτερισμό. Όλα τα προηγούμενα συμπυκνώνονται σε μια εικονικότητα που λειτουργεί ενδεικτικά και προϊδεάζει για μια ανθρωπο-φιλική κοσμοθεωρία, τελετουργίες ηρεμίας, υπευθυνότητας και συναίσθησης της ζωής.

14. Imagination is more important that knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know & understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will. The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but IMAGINATION. ALBERT EINSTEIN.