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Spell of the Seasons

 

Research project studying new and ancient ways of tea.

How can the spirit of the Japanese way of tea influence culinary experiences of the future– aesthetic, sensual and spiritual experiences, connecting people with the seasons of nature on a deeply emotional level?

Evolving from the spirit and history of the Japanese tea ceremony, The Spell of the Seasons is an ongoing research project that sets out on a quest to discover a sense of sacredness in food and the way we cook, host and enjoy meals. How can rituals, including flavours, textures, colours, tableware scents, light, sound and performance inspire people to reconnect with the seasons?

Image credits: Vilma Luostarinen

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Based on literature and interviews with designers and chefs as well as experts in the traditional tea ceremony, the project explores how the past can inspire more poetic and environmentally conscious forms of eating. The final outcome of the project is not yet determined, but to begin with, I'll publish a series of shorter texts on my online journal and host a supper club to investigate how the research can be embodied in time and space.

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In recent years, researchers, chefs, artists and designers have increasingly turned their interest to more sustainable ways of producing, sourcing and consuming food. We are getting more conscious about the environmental implications of what food we eat and how it has been produced, but what role does the total experience of how we eat play?

Rituals of eating and drinking have occurred in all cultures, since ancient times. Besides providing us with nutrition, it has an important social aspect of connecting people. But what is the potential of rituals to enhance our appreciation for food and cultivate a deepened sense of interconnectedness with nature? This is still an overlooked dimension in the academic realm as well as in the food industry and wider world of restaurants.

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The first trip in September-October 2017 was funded by Japanstiftelsen. During my time in Japan, I interviewed a number of designers, chefs and makers, as well as experts in the traditional tea ceremony. A second trip is planned to take place in 2019.