So what exactly does artfully prepared cuisine have to do with corpses? Exquisite Corpse, this year’s NYC Le Grand Fooding event, was held at a pop-up restaurant in Chelsea’s Honey Space Gallery. Adopted from the surrealists’ concept of the “corps exquis,” every chef’s first course featured an ingredient used by the chef in the preceding shift. Nonstop for 52 hours, 13 top chefs from Europe and the United States embarked on four-hour, round-the-clock shifts feeding jet setting gourmands, bleary eyed night owls, and curiosity seekers willing to part with $100 each for the experience.
Featured chefs were a hand-picked mix of established culinary wizards and rising stars blending different countries, experience levels and styles. The main premise behind Le Grand Fooding events such as this was to shakeup the classical French approach to cooking and explore this venerable school of art’s practices through different lenses. In addition to the surrealist theme, it was the limitations of a residential-style kitchen as well as chefs personally
lugging ingredients from their own local purveyors in coolers from as far away as Italy and Belgium.
I sat down to a long narrow table set for 40 with hundreds of candles as the centerpiece peppered with champagne holders filled with half bottle servings of Veuve Clicquot. A huge chandelier made from clusters of large glass jugs hung directly over the center of the table. A Foosball table along with a baby grand piano stood on the fringes where they were sometimes used by dining guests in between courses. Ana Ros of Hisa Franko restaurant in Kobarid, Slovenia, cooked up 4 courses featuring her native ingredients like figs, goat’s milk, trout,
deer tartare, and her black cod with black truffle foam and asparagus…my favorite.
“The countryside where I come from is not globalized. We traditionally rely on what each season yields and craft our dishes from these basic elements,” said Ros. Building on Ana’s passion for expertly crafted Slovenian dishes using locally-sourced ingredients, I can’t wait to see what next year’s Le Grand Fooding NYC experience brings!
photos courtesy of Steve Mirsky