As the saying goes, “opposites attract”. So do contrasts; opposites that, if combined in a wise and delicate manner, can create a balanced third element. Hot and cold; light and shadow; sweet and savoury are antonyms that are usually perceived with distancing from one another. However, the differences that set them apart, could, in fact, be the secret for their union. Contrasts create possibilities for the new, the unusual, the unexpected.
Text by Bia
After months of discussing, researching and creating, we realised that we had developed a clear language to express the connection between gastronomy and photography. However, we hadn’t tested this means of expression with anyone else and we didn’t know if it could be clearly translated to others. Therefore, we decided to prepare a test dinner, in which we would explore the theme Contrasts from a cultural perspective.
Growing up influenced by two opposite cultures, Brazilian and Swedish, has many times been confusing as we always felt we had to choose one cultural identity over the other. Throughout this project, we realised that we did not have to choose at all, we could be both Brazilian AND Swedish. Not only could we be both, but we could also create a third, independent identity. Being able to look at both Brazil and Sweden from the outside, this new identity is influenced by both cultures, taking the best elements of each one, without us feeling bound to either of them in any way.
So, this dinner would also be a way to balance the cultural differences and present a new perspective. To fully explore this concept, we decided to create two dishes and two pictures. The idea was to work with contrasts not only within each dish and picture but also among themselves.
For the pictures, Felipe drew inspiration from different elements of Brazilian and Swedish cultures. Architecture was the starting point. In the first picture, the idea was to play with the minimalist approach of Swedish architecture, based on functionality and full of clean straight lines. To contrast with these elements, Felipe chose to use vibrant colours and harsh light and shadow, more associated with Brazil.
The first dish would present few elements with intense contrasts of colours and flavours. Bia decided to work with the strong flavour and dark brown colour of the chuck, the sweetness and vibrant orange of the roasted kabocha squash and the sourness and deep purple of the pickled blueberry.
For the second picture, the idea was to do the opposite. Inspired by Oscar Niemeyer, one of the key figures of Brazilian Architecture, it presents fluid curves that contrast with a cold, softly lit, monochromatic set. The same idea was used for the second dish of the menu - to have many contrasting ingredients within the same, pastel colour palette. Hence, Bea decided to combine elements that would bring smokiness (pineapple), freshness and sweetness (coconut and lemongrass ice cream), and spiciness (breadcrumbs), to create a contrasting yet balanced dessert.