In the middle of last year, I came across some blogs, videos and photos featuring I’m a Kombo from Copenhagen.
Bo Lindegaard and Lasse Askov, both chefs classical trained, turned their backs on the way things usually are for chefs.
Creating a creative island in the sea of ex-noma sous chef restaurants in Copenhagen, their philosophy goes way beyond food, The Social Acts are very intelligent constructed dining experiences.
After many conversations via mail and skype, we had the basic concept settled for the collaboration of I’m a Kombo and 2am:lab in Singapore, taking music theory as a base and constructing the dinner based on the set up of an album. Their idea of constructing a beat box that will give the rhythm for the whole meal, while being controlled by the guests, was first hard to understand but ended up being a really essential fun element.
Interaction is just one part. Confronting the guests with different tasks (opening wine and pouring it for the other guests or finishing a cake together as a group) strangers become companions on a journey conducted, but not totally controlled by the hosts.
Instructions from bo and lasse do not feel like orders as In many restaurants, where the maître tells you a specific way to eat the food. It is more like being at a friend’s house being asked to give them a hand with something.
The longer the night, the stronger the feeling of a social gathering becomes. It is not a dinner with strangers anymore,
It is a Social Act.
For a detailed presentation on I’m a Kombo – Control & Coincidence by Bo & Lasse watch the youtube video from the WGS2013 jam session
Food being obviously the main reason to come for a dinner, it becomes secondary very quickly. Not that I’m a kombo’s food is boring or not tasty, their food is very tasty, creative and comforting. The food is the kick start for everything by sharing the culinary and conceptual experiences, the guests have a starting level of social interaction. It does not matter where you from, what you do and where you going to be, right now they are all in the same place and share the same new experience.
One of their signature dishes is the passion fruit.
Mint jelly injected into a whole passion, simple at a first look, but on a second it is very smart.
Like a Kinder Egg for grown-ups, it is looks like a normal passion fruit, you get to cut it open with a knife and there is a surprising filling.
Summarizing the experience of collaborating with Bo and Lasse, they went really deep into detail of what is a good night. Some of the best nights in our live were not in a 3 star restaurant, the best nights were together with old and new friends, sharing good food and drinks, talking about everything and nothing.
to get a little impression of how the dinner was,
Big Tak to Bo, Lasse and Pawel!
Braised Pork belly
500g pork belly (cut from the middle for a fat and meat balance)
1000 g water
60 g salt
30 g sugar gula malaka
110 g soy sauce
70 g black vinegar
10 g black tea
bring all ingredients to the boil
infuse for 15 min, strain & cool
black garlic puree
100g black garlic
20g black vinegar
2g sea salt
pass black garlic through a drum sieve
mix with remaining ingredients
keep at room temperature for service
After our Mangosteen bark recipe, we kept on experimenting with whole Mangosteens to see what else we were able to get out of it.
Martijn Bauwens, Pastry chef from “In de Wulf” came to visit us in december, he had the idea to lacto ferment whole mangosteens in a 3% salt solution. quickly the liquid got dyed into deep purple, after one month smell and taste resemble that of olive brine with strong notes of tannins. the flesh inside the mangosteen got purple as well and absorbed the tannins from the skin.
we keep on fermenting the mangosteens while experimenting different application. ideas we have are dressing, jelly, sauce, poaching liquid, marinade,…
Submerging whole mangosteens in 20% sugar water changes to orange pink color, smell and taste resemble plum, cherry and hawthorn and light tannins give a tea like body. the flesh absorbed the tannins and little sugar.
Honey water to a ratio of 1:4 turns to amber color, the smell and taste remind of plum wine with little fizz.
Sugar & honey should be great for beverages, poaching liquid, sauce, foam…
The watermelon carpaccio from Mugaritz is known to almost everyone. Loving the idea and having 2 watermelons left, we started a little experiment on freeze – thawing and dehydrating whole watermelons.
First we peeled the watermelon to just leave a thin layer of the peel on them. We pickled the white part of the peel in kaffir lime leaf brine, the green part tends to be very tough.
We froze them for 24 hours, if you use very big watermelons freeze them for 48 hours so they are frozen to the core. Then defrost until completely thawed, approximately another 12 hours.
repeat the process 3 times to break the fibers. you will end up with a lot of clear watermelon juice which can be use for granite, cocktails, mocktails, ice cubes,…
dry the watermelon at 90 degree celsius for 10-12 hours.
we are still working on dishes using this watermelon, sweet and savory. it is not very sweet, the texture reminds of semi dried tomato.
Every time we were making fresh mangosteen puree we ended up with 90% skin & seeds, after a little research we found recipes which used the whole fruit and not just the flesh, but mainly drinks and medicinals use.
Very informative read is http://herbs-treatandtaste.blogspot.sg/2011/07/mangosteen-fruit-information-health.html
After many experiments we end up with a crisp made from the skin which can be flavored and sweetened to low the strong flavor of the tannins, most important is to serve it really dry, as soon as it starts to pull humidity the tannins get stronger.
Mangosteen Bark recipe for 20 serving
300g Mangosteen skin
50ml Balsamic vinegar
80g Icing Sugar
100ml Yuzu Juice (concentrated)
Blend mangosteen skin with 120ml water until smooth.
Add balsamic vinegar, yuzu juice and icing sugar to the blender.
Blend until smooth.
Spread thinly on a silpat and dehydrate at 120degrees for 20 minutes
2am: lab hosts Daniel Jorda for a week during the World gourmet submit.
One of the top bread makers in Europe, Daniel Jorda’s humble background and creativity has touched the chefs at 2am: lab.
We collaborated to make a 7 course meal where bread took centre stage of the dinner for the first time.
Different flavors and textures of bread were incorporated into the courses. (more photos can be viewed in our gallery)
When he first arrived, we took him to Ghim moh market where he tasted most of the local delights and bought much local herbs and fruits for the dinner and workshop.
Annatto bread recipe coming soon…
Daniel loves using spices, dried herbs and vegetables in his bread and it was wonderful seeing him being inspired by our flavor wall and picking ingredients from the wall for use in his bread.
Another bread he made for pre dinner course. one of his favorites….
250g whole wheat bread flour
10g baker yeast
5g sea salt
1tbsp oregano leaves
1tbsp rosemary leaves
Extra virgin olive oil
15g extra virgin olive oil
2g sea salt
Making bread sculptures for petit 4s.
Chef daniel and the 2am: lab chefs, made some experiments with the dough with flour, salt and water.
During the course of Ayako’s one month residence at 2am: lab, she frequented the markets and always coming back with numerous ingredients for experimentation.
How important it is to brainstorm and taste all the parts of the ingredients and work on it after 1-2 rounds of tasting.
Sometimes we do not think of food and its flavors in such a way but what was interesting about this collaboration with Guest Chef Ayako Suwa was her approach to ingredients.
She would describe tastes with sadness, happiness, fondness etc.
After almost a month of intense collaboration between 2am:lab and food creation artist ayako suwa, the menu for the experience dinner “journey on the table” had it’s premier on the last weekend on February 2012.
Taking the inspiration from migrating birds, the guests were taken on a journey from the lake threw the grassland, forest, along the city and to the ocean.
Following Ayako suwa’s philosophy of serving the guest an experience rather then a restaurant like meal, nonconventional combination of tastes, shapes, textures and senses were presented in combination with scenery, music and light changes.
Different to a chef creating a dish is not based on the ingredients for ayako, she gains inspiration from every aspect in live, walking along a river, the look of dried bark, the feeling of sand running threw the fingers, the smell of rain on warm stone, bright lights of a city by night…
Creating the menu with this special angle, there might be dishes that do not please everyone, but that is also not the intention. Introducing the guest to a different world, experiencing things from a different point of view, maybe changing the way they look at things or reminding them of long forgotten ones.
Thank you very much to Ayako Suwa, Shinya Furui and Chiaki Fujii from food creation for an amazing event.
Video of Journey on the table
Dishes of the dinner can be viewed in our gallery in this website.
Planning for In the lake dish
Inspired by our local product banana flower.
In the lake….
A glass bowl with different dry seaweeds, mini prawn, sea snails, salmon caviar, basil seeds and water plants.
2am: lab invites Japanese Food artist Ayako Suwa to collaborate on a 7 course dinner
Journey on the table
gentle stream, something falling in the water, wavy water surface, reflecting light, waterside inhabitant
rustling weeds, wind moving across, filled with bloomed flowers, またはcarpet of flowers
FOREST / WOODS / MOUNTAINS 森 / 林 / 山
wriggling in the soil, atmosphere of animals, thick forest green, ripe fruit
PLAINS 平野 /
dark in the night, stone rolling over the rock face, roaring thunder, rumbling of the earth, full moon
atomosphere of human, shelter under the factory awning, vinyl, plastic, cement, asphalt, metal, steady rain
COAST / OCEAN 海岸 / 海原
sand beach as far as you can see, the edge of water, sea breeze, an endless ocean,
JOURNEY CONTINUES 旅はさらにつづく
After making Rosella-Plum Kelp relish for the suckling pig main course at Will Goldfarbs fairy tail dinner, this sour and bright red fruit keeps suprising us. Right now we infuse it in Vodka, Brine, Syrup, Vinegar… pressure cook, saute, juice and so on.