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Emilie, Michelle, and Nadia have come together to create Tasteologie, a cultural venture that combines food and design. Tasteologie’s first event will be this Sunday, March 28th, 2010, at the Droog showroom in New York. The theme is “CMYK Cocktail” – dealing with one of food and design’s essential characteristics, color.
To start off, could you all introduce yourselves and your role is in the CMYK Cocktail event?
Emilie: I came up with the idea originally, and then I accosted Shelly and Nadia to be a part of it! I suppose I’d be the creative director. But really, we’re all working pretty closely on everything.
Shelly: I’m more of the production designer for the event, but kind of a jack-of-all-trades. Suggesting speakers for the event, getting sponsors, and making sure everything runs smoothly. Running around a lot!
Nadia: I’ve been helping with the bulk of the writing, and helping shape the concept of the event and its presentation to the general public and to sponsors.
Where did the idea come from?
Shelly: We started talking about it in August, after the Jell-O Mold competition.
Nadia: Yeah, we started talking about it in the summer. There were a lot of ideas about what the event would be or what Tasteologie would be, and we had to streamline them.
Shelly: Emilie had the idea for a while, though.
Emilie: I’d been doing these color-themed, monochromatic dinners: all-black dinners and all-pink dinners and all-red dinners. All the food is that color, the people are dressed in that color, and every person came to the table with their interpretation of that color, giving it an interactive/performance component. People got so excited and it was way better than any regular dinner party! We thought it would be great to make those a little bit more professional in scope.
What can attendees expect at the event?
Emilie: There will be five cocktails presented. We’ll start with white, and then go through the CMYK spectrum. Each of the mixologists has designed a unique cocktail that pertains to that color. Some interpretations will be very literal and some will be a little bit more conceptual. Each cocktail will come paired with an amuse-bouche, a small bite to eat that will complement the flavor. In between each course there will be a toast, creating a dialogue about the ideas involved.
Nadia: We’re hoping there will be some participation – that the crowd will contribute their own ideas about what these colors mean.
What kind of people are attending?
Shelly: We have fashion designers, industrial designers, graphic designers, possible some people from Pantone… It’s a mixed bag. The thing about food is everyone can appreciate it.
Emilie: Business people. VPs at Godiva.
Nadia: I don’t work in design, I work in a human rights organization, and everyone that I work with thinks it’s really cool. Food and color is an easily accessible idea.
After you decided to throw this event, what have been the steps to make it real?
Nadia: It took a long time to really flesh out what we were trying to do with it. Once we figured out what we wanted to do, and then we chose who we wanted to be involved.
Emilie: The initial part was curating it, and curating it almost in the same way that you’d put a meal together. Everybody who participates has to be complimentary in some way.
Who have you brought in?
Emilie: We got James Tichenor and Josh Walton from Rockwell Interactive Lab to do cyan. Magenta is Tobias Wong and Josee LePage. Yellow is Renda Morton, who was suggested by a friend of mine. Black is Seymour Chwast, and Shelly can wax poetic on him. He’s probably the most old-school, established designer on board.
Shelly: Seymore helped design the packaging for the McDonalds Happy Meal, so we thought he’d be a really great person for this, combining both food and design.
Nadia: What all of these people have in common is that they have dealt with food in some capacity in their previous design work, as well as cultural consumption. That’s what ties them all together, even though they work in different aspects of design.
We should probably pay homage to the sponsors, because they’re very important to making things happen. Can you talk a little about who’s gotten involved?
Emilie: Well, we have Droog design, who’s been great in terms of allowing us to use their space. They’ve always thought about the everyday in new ways, so I think they are a perfect partner for this. The Evolution Store is donating products, CMYK gifts. And Baked by Melissa is donating food. We’re also in partnership with the Umami festival, which brings together art, culture, and food.
Has it been hard to find sponsors, or has that just come naturally with the crowd you’ve been talking to?
Shelly: Dealing with small businesses seems to be easier. Big corporations are coming in a little slow because of their budget schedule – a lot of companies set the budget in the fall for the following fiscal year.
Emilie: It’s just the timing of it. Getting sponsored just takes a long time, usually. We were really thankful that Droog came on pretty early, and we’ve been talking with Umami about it for a while. We keep getting calls from potential sponsors, though. What’s interesting about working in the medium of food is there’s this sort of cross-pollination that’s happening, cross-marketing. From a commercial standpoint, that makes a lot of sense. You’re able to target such a diverse audience in a really powerful way.