Creativity and Food At Heart
1st February 2016
Mindful eating and creative flavour experimentation.
If creativity and food makes you think of artful compositions on dinner plates and your cameraphone then you need to a creATE workshop. Meredith Whitley is the creative and culinary dynamo behind Food at Heart. Recently I attended her winter workshop in the sleek, ubercool basement kitchen of a beautiful Victorian house in Hammersmith. I soon discovered this was not a cookery class and nor a straightforward mindfulness or creativity workshop – a creATE workshop is all of that and more.
First off, we explored what creativity means to us and how this relates to the food we fuel our bodies with every day. Next, a guided meditation by Meredith helped us discard the day and prepare for the multi-sensory delights ahead and then it was blind tasting. Let me tell you this: fat queen olives from Spain when stuffed with tiny sugar crusted raisins are delicious. A previously unknown food sensation. Weird sounding, right? Try it, I promise you will not be disappointed. Felix from EatAbout and I got a little hooked on this (check out his new restaurant concept – it’s Airbnb for the London restaurant scene).
We explored our preconceived notions of creative ideas, flavour combinations and textures through discussion and activity and eating. It was my kind of bliss as was the the catharsis of kneading pizza dough: rhythmic and mesmeric and just what I needed after a hectic day in the Big Smoke. Here’s what I learned:
- The anticipation of the meal I was going to consume felt distinct to the mindless unwrapping of a cellophane-trapped mass produced pizza. I heat them through and am left unsatisfied by the tasteless supermarket offerings – not so with my Turkish pide with all my favourite fillings.
- A three course meal does not have to leave me feeling fit to burst. To go with our pide we split into two groups (mine included the brilliant food tech and blogger Lindsey Solomons) and prepared a side salad and fresh, clean-tasting dessert using flavour guides provided by Meredith. This was a meal with nourishing, warming food that also allowed me to feel guilt-free about having a pizza-type item on my plate and sated, not stuffed afterwards.
- How important it is to experience what we consume which means the obvious things like don’t scoff my meals in a ravenous flash but also be actively engaged in the ingredient and recipe choices, food preparation and tasting.
Meredith is super friendly and keeps her workshops intimate, fun and different. The group was interesting and dynamic, the space is beautiful, all the ingredients are organic and Meredith is an expert when it comes to food, cooking, creativity and mindfulness.
Best of all? Meredith gave us a gift of cardamon-flavoured ‘Be Curious’ cookies and challenged us to one week of a creative commitment. Learn more about the latter in an upcoming post and know that I ate the scrumptious biccies and savoured every bite before I even contemplated photographing them!