Exploring the culinary history of clay cooking. Clay cooking enables you to build sculptures, bake seasoned root vegetables and create a sensory landscape. In ancient times whole animals were baked in clay on an open fire, and after being removed from the hot coals, smashed open. The cooked contents, in this case, root vegetables are only revealed when the clay shell is broken, creating a dilemma; breaking a sculpture to sample the warm root inside. It is an attempt to connect past and present on a modern table like an eclectic archaeological site.
The first ROOTS sessions were at MINT gallery in London and at my Proef restaurant in Amsterdam
In South Africa I expanded the Roots project. Thinking of how South Africa is called the Rainbow nation and linked it to the idea that the roots of mankind originated in Africa. I found that the colours of clay that can be found in the earth resemble the colours of skin of mankind. We started shaping faces and sculptures of the clay with roots inside so eventually, when the roots were baked the guests would need to break the skin and get to the core. A beautiful symbolic act to celebrate our roots and to emphasize that it’s the inside that counts.
Besides roots, we also covered two huge ostriches in clay and baked them in a fire. Very tasty and juicy!