For the latest edition of its philosophy-meets-dining events, Feast of Great Ideas, The School of Life is teaming up with chef Chui Lee Luk. The event will be at Surry Hills restaurant Folonomo, where Luk is currently mid-residency. Each of Luk’s dishes will correspond to a theory or school of thought related to memory, which The School of Life believes is innate to eating.
“Most of our fondest memories [centre] around, and are celebrated with, food; dinner parties, long lunches, special occasions, weddings,” says Daniel Teitelbaum, head of content at The School of Life.
Teitelbaum says the "Proustian Moment'" - a term named after philosopher and writer Marcel Proust to describe the moment a sudden and involuntary flash of memory is brought on by smells and tastes – is the inspiration for the night’s intersection of memory, philosophy and food.
“We’ll share a big idea,” says Teitelbaum, “and then leave the audience with some questions and provocations to discuss with each other as they eat.” Other philosophers and texts on the menu include John Locke and his An essay concerning human understanding (1690), and Mary Warnock’s 1987 work Memory. Both consider how we use memories – and distort them – for our conception of ourselves. Some of the questions posed to diners will include: “What is your fondest memory?” and “What’s your most defining memory of yourself?”
As for how these ideas will be realised in each dish, Luk’s still grappling with the finer points of some of these thinkers, so she can’t name any specifics yet. However, she says a semi-autobiographical menu is likely, allowing her to play with her past, from her childhood in Malaysia, to working as head-chef at Italian restaurant Berta, and the now-closed French fine-dining restaurant Claude’s.
Teitelbaum admits it’s all very “deep and meaningful” but promises the main aim is to just have a night of good food and interesting conversations.
The Feast of Good Ideas: Memory with Chui Lee Luk will take place on September 8 from 7pm–10pm at Folonomo. Tickets are available from The School of Life’s website.