In a nutshell
The Waldorf Project is an art performance by artist Sean Rogg that creates an immersive dining experience on a grand stage intended to connect the senses through food, drink, dance, sound, and environment.
It is a journey from the best that nature can create, to the higher state of perfection when combined with the artistic mind of man.
Guests will experience a new concept of dining synchronized with precious wines presented in a magical and unique way.
The idea is to connect everything with the concept. It will flow through all aspects of the performance, from sound to environment.
Each of the collaborators has been chosen by Sean Rogg specifically for their imaginative approach to the theme – the rare Japanese muskmelon – as well as their readiness to break boundaries through the most fundamental fusion of their diverse disciplines. From gastro-scientists and food designers to choreographers and sound artists, The Waldorf Project unifies distinct arts to create a unique and fully immersive experience for their guests.
What we thought
We attended the preview evening last night and were welcomed by a friendly chap who asked us to pick an object off the table in front of us. Items included a 5kg weight, a set of keys, a tube of fish food and a few coins. Shortly after, we were asked to enter the dining room and make our way to the main column, which was dressed with numerous test tubes and science lab paraphernalia filled with herbs and foreign fruits. It is here that we were presented with our seasonal aperitif with tea before being tasked with finding the table corresponding to our object. We had picked a petri dish filled with coal and after a couple of rounds around the tables, we settled on the one that had a diamond on it. We’re still not sure whether this was the right decision but no one else kicked us off the table so it must have been.
We entered a large room with black curtains covering the four walls. The tables were lined up in two long rows on each side of the room with a range of weird and wonderful props surrounding the tables. Two plinths with giant ice cubes stood in the middle of the room, each dripping away into a beaker. Surround speakers played music to match the Muskmelon theme. We were impressed with our surroundings but found it increasingly difficult to concentrate with the loud and obscure music.
Food and drink
After guests are seated the service gets underway. Men dressed in black walking in synchronised lines across the room from one side to the other brought us glasses in wheelie trolleys while five women dressed in matching grey dresses and black pumps sashayed across the floor making bird gestures.
There are seven courses in total, each adhering to the theme and each arriving with a matching wine. Favourites were the first and second courses – wild mushrooms with sea weed, which was paired with 1999 Talinda Oaks Chardonnay (Au Bon Climat Special Project) and a beautiful dish of tender scallops, which was paired with 1994 Sanford Chardonnay (Special Project). We didn’t really understand the fourth dish and still can’t decipher what was on the plate. Well, I say plate but I mean large framed white tile. We were given a different utensil to eat with during each course, our favourite being the large set of sharp tweezers. The menu was fun, exciting and intriguing.
Performance art has never really captured my imagination. Seeing women caress the props around the room sort of made me uncomfortable. But I wasn’t really there for the performance art; I was there for the food, which was certainly impressive. Each dish was stunning and individual in its own right. The music was too weird and loud for our liking. We weren’t sure whether to laugh or cry when we heard snorting pig noises when we were eating our pork course. The screeches and bleeps I’m sure had a meaning but they prevented me from being able to think about it. The décor of the room is impressive – be prepared to see herbs, spices, fruits and props that you may never had seen before.
We’re intrigued to see what The Waldorf Project has in store for Chapter Two.
Netil House, 1 Westgate Street, London. E8 3RP
10 – 14 October 2012, 7pm