Condiment Junkie, When Taste Is Not (Only) About Food

Starting at The Fat Duck by Heston Blumenthal, working on the Sounds of the Sea dish, Condiment Junkie company is now experimenting with sound and food.

Science suggests sound, color and other sensory cues influence the way we perceive taste. A number of researchers, chefs, and communication professionals are involved in creating events for the general public that will have a sensory impact: it’s something we’ve already known thanks to Roca Brothers’ El Somni culinary opera, or the Ultraviolet restaurant in Shanghai by chef Paul Pairet.

Condiment Junkie is a sonic branding and experiential sound design company now experimenting with this fascinating discipline. Condiment Junkie founders, Scott King and Russ Jones use the term Sensory Architecture to explain their approach. They design every aspect of the surrounding environment – sounds, smells, colors, textures, shapes – and understand how they interact wanting to specifically enhance something – be it taste, enjoyment or immersion. Sensory Architecture takes the science of the senses, cross-modal neuroscience, and applies it to anything from taste to rooms, bars and restaurants, to packaging, glassware, or even digital.

Condiment Junkie

Condiment Junkie’s food experiments began at The Fat Duck restaurant by chef Heston Blumenthal. They worked on the chef’s Sounds of the Sea signature dish (in the picture at the top of the page) which comes in a wooden box that looks like it contains sand and shells. It turns out to be tapioca, fried breadcrumbs, crushed fried baby eels, cod liver oil and langoustine oil with abalone, razor clams, shrimps, oysters and three kinds of edible seaweed. Looking for ways to give higher impact to the tasting experience, they worked on the one single sense that was incomplete: the auditory aspect. After trying a soundtrack of the sea, they realized it conjures up all those memories of being by the sea and eating the freshest fish you’ve ever tasted. The collaboration between the two continued with a second sonar intervention, a cinematic trick for the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party last spring.

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