Thursday, May 29, 2014

The call for strangers

6 Strangers
I saw this on Facebook and was curious to have a nice meal and hopefully some perceptive chit-chat with artists and curator. Most importantly, I thought the questions asked was pretty interesting so I happily dropped in 2 silly answers.
Guess they liked my ridiculous reply cos I got an invitation to the 2nd dinner, which was still cool cos having a meal with 6 strangers was quite a novel concept. And I have to say at that point of time, I was very very curious on what I have committed myself to. Geez~
And so on 28th May, I made my way to attend the experimental dinner at Food For Thought at 8Q SAM. I have to admit, on my way there, I did have second thoughts. I wasn't feeling that brave anymore because I had limited art knowledge despite having many arty friends. I was a bit worried that the artists were in their eccentric mood and may take an instant dislike to my frivolous and flighty nature.
Food For Thought
I have been to any of the Food For Thought outlets before. This first visit left me quite impressed with the thought and effort they have put into the dinner. Like many cafes sprouting in Singapore, the interior decoration of the place was really interesting. But I thought what was really special was the glass jars hanging on the ceiling and the meaning behind it. The jars were collected from their social mission feeding children and in some of the empty bottles held sketches of these children's dreams. Raising up the jars onto the ceiling was akin to raising the children dreams and hopes. Beautiful isn't it?
I was welcomed to the place with a long row of table, decorated with flowers and petals in the center. And among the petals, M&Ms peeped from beneath. But most around our area was promptly eaten by my table partner, Dawn and I. Haha :) We hunted them down like Easter Bunnies!
Soup and Drink
We were first served with a nice cup of lemon tea along with pumpkin soup with herbs. The pumpkin soup was presented with a bread in a cup before the waitress came around pouring the soup in watering cans. As the question posted for the second meal was  “Nurture___ Nature”, the theme of our dinner revolved strongly around the theme. I was pretty hungry at 7:30 pm (Apparently, people who are working in the arts only eat at 9pm and other ungodly hours lol!) I initially thought the bread was the starter, and nearly ate it before the soup was served. (Dear girl, you really have to work on your table patience...hehe)
The lemon tea was really refreshing. I had 3 cups. The soup was tasty, just a bit cold, would prefer it warmer. Of course, there was table conversation. To break the ice, we had to share our answers to the question posed. I didn't actually answered this set of question, so I was lucky I was last to answer for this. It did make me sweat a little cos I just couldn't find that one word, while everyone effortlessly gave that "one". I settled with 2 eventually - Nurture to love Nature, simply cos it was the first thing to pop into my mind and I just couldn't find any one word that could effectively convey the same meaning.
Water Melon
Our spectacular garden-themed meal which was prepared the executive chef, David. The first main course was the slow-roasted watermelon which resembled a meat. Bewildering isn't it? It left many of pondering after first bite. I initially thought it could be a tomato cos of the caramelised skin. But when I tasted it, I knew I was wrong, just couldn't match the taste to the fruit.
Thought Collective
Meanwhile, waiting for the next main course, we also had a short "game" to help us know our table partners better. In each Thought Collective deck, there were 2 stacks of identical cards with images. So basically, you just had to ask each other questions and pick the cards that reflect your answers. Definitely a great "orientation" game, especially if the group isn't big.
I was joking with Dawn that it could be a deck of fortune reading card. Tried to read her fortune and she picked a crying child. She was exclaiming "the answer is obvious". I promptly told her she will be crying for joy in future. :P I do see a bright future I have as a budding soothsayer.
Vegetable Garden
The next meal was indeed what people called "food art". It was totally an instagram or kodak moment. Everyone just whipped out their phone and started snapping. A vegetable garden, literally! Down to the last detail, soil, dirt etc. I had a hard time convincing myself to eat something that looked so cute! It was just so creative and you know what, it isn't that difficult to replicate in the comfort of your home.
Much as I wanted to give my fellow table mates the full attention, I am guilty of spamming the photo on my whatsapp chats halfway, making everyone jealous and green (like a vegetable) with envy. Honestly, a vegetarian meal have never been so tempting to me. Did consider going vegetarian because of it. :)
Egg Agar
To end the evening, we had milk agar agar served in egg shells. In terms of presentation, the meal left me speechless. The meal was indeed very fulfilling. And by fulfilling I meant also the conversation and sharing of thoughts and ideas that came with it. I have to say that I gained a lot more perspective to the art scene and really enjoyed the companionship. Much to contrary beliefs, people who dabble in the arts not in the least crazy, moody etc. They are very normal, like you and I.
Most of the participants also come from the art world in one way or another. I might be the only one who is from the other world (So, which world am I in?!?) But, one thing I noticed about them was their passion. And if there is anything I took away from this evening, it is to find something I am so ferociously in love with. Lately, I just think I lack the drive. Sometimes in the pursuit to make ends meet and career success, we just lose the true meaning of life. I am just fixated on certain goals that I fail to see other aspects of self development and self expression. Of course, I think brought home a more mature self and a person ready to embrace and experience life to the fullest.
Guess all the credit for my epiphany goes to my lovely dining partners that evening. This dinner is held to promote UNEARTHED, an exhibition at SAM at 8Q from 21 Mar to 6 Jul 2013 on how artist living in Singapore view and respond to nature. I haven't got the chance to see it yet. But I heard it is good. So I guess all that is left to say is - See you there!
And for you guys who are keen to drop Food For Thought a visit, be sure to check out some of their talks where they invite mystery guest speakers. I personally felt some of the topics were very close to the heart and relevant to youths. It is many of those questions which we seek answers to and it could be good to hear some insights from people who has been there, done there, so now let's turn the page. 
Definitely becoming a little more arty, I will be visiting another exhibition soon. So art kids, stay tune~~~

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