Environmental awareness and ecological sustainability are concepts that very commonly go hand in hand with an alternative lifestyle dedicated to organic or vegan living.
Perhaps it’s this reputation that makes the endeavours of the Cross(x)Species Adventure Club such a conspicuous departure. The initiative is the brainchild of Natalie Jeremijenko, most recently known for her work as the director of xDesign Environmental Health Clinic at NYU and Mihir Desai, accomplished molecular gastronomy chef. With the help of Carbon Arts, a locally based initiative dedicated to fusing artistic endeavours with environmental education, the two groups have come together to deliver a great message in an innovative way.
In very simple terms, the project’s brief is to create innovative food employing molecular gastronomy to help make discourse surrounding ecological sustainability and biodiversity more visual, tangible and accessible. The series of clinics, running throughout November and December, are all aimed at highlighting the way in which we interact with the environment and use that environment to obtain food and resources.
The first event on the calendar draws on the local talent of dessert expert Pierre Roelofs, who will help investigate the use of our own landscape. Across five courses, the hosts will explore the unique properties of Australian ecology through modern cuisine techniques and inspired ingredients.
The following night sees Jeremijenko and Desai present a three-course edible cocktail degustation in the surrounds of the Melbourne Museum. The X Species Wilderness Adventures For The Palate employs art performance, science and modern cuisine to explore the future of food production and highlight the key issues of sustainability and biodiversity.
The Melbourne dining public are no strangers to the concepts of molecular dining, beginning with the more accessible incarnations available in places like Der Raum to the intricate molecular degustations that dominate the plates of two and three hat restaurants. At all times, these dishes surprise and intrigue, with Desai and Jeremijenko hoping to inspire diners to consider the journey these foods take to get to the plate, not to mention where they fit in the food web and how they can be used to increase sustainability.
These concepts are far too academic to consider in the short-lived moments between plate and mouth, so this is why the project’s sense of theatre and overall sensory experience is so important in helping diners grasp its message.
Whether you’re a high-end cuisine lover or a child of mother earth, these events will implore you to reconsider how you eat, but also how you can contribute to sustainability in your own unique way.