Let’s Do Lunch: Olafur Eliasson

Great interview by Marina O’Loughlin in the Guardian about artist Olafur Eliasson. Best known for his giant sun at Tate Modern and passionate about food. In his vast Berlin studio there is a kitchen that feeds the entire workforce every day.

“Eliasson has now produced a book, Studio Olafur Eliasson: The Kitchen, as part of an ongoing series of publications called TYT (Take Your Time). It’s a celebration of the intrinsic beauty of food, the fascination of eating. With recipes, metaphysical ponderings and haunting poetry, it could only have been created by artists: there are pages dedicated to the pleating in a dim sum dumpling and dishes called Rain After Cloud. The photography is black-and-white, with only the food (and one green dress) picked out in colour.

Over its 10 years, The Kitchen has welcomed many notable guests: Ai Weiwei is forever nipping over from his neighbouring studio, as are top chefs such as Noma’s René Redzepi and friends of The Kitchen’s mentor, American culinary legend Alice Waters – famous friends such as Meryl Streep..

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“The book grew out of the life of the studio over many years, when cooking became so involved in the routine of the day,” he explains. “The idea was to pay my team back – it’s a degree of respect.” We sit down at the head of a long table in a huge, bright room, hung with mirrored light fittings that feature Ethiopian basketwork he discovered during a show in Addis Ababa last year. The table is laid with dishes of salad, dips, homemade bread; staff can take any leftovers home, nothing is wasted.

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The food at the Kitchen is vibrant, brimming with colourful freshness. It’s organic and vegetarian, frequently vegan, sourced mostly within a 10km radius of Berlin. Today’s menu offers cauldrons of earthy, fuchsia-coloured beet soup for us to ladle into bowls and top with a dollop of horseradish cream. Ricotta laced with mushrooms. The bread is glorious wholemeal sourdough, dense and chewy. The cooking team is run by women; we’re lucky that artist and food activist Asako Iwama, one of The Kitchen’s originators, who has left to study film-making in Tokyo, is visiting today.”

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Read the entire article here.