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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Naked sushi, anyone?


The Japanese practice of nyotaimori, or the serving of sushi on a naked woman's body, was the theme of a dinner held last month by the Secret Cooks Club. The themes for the dinners are discussed on the club's Facebook page and website. Image source: Thomas Gorrisen
The Japanese practice of nyotaimori, or the serving of sushi on a naked woman's body, was the theme of a dinner held last month by the Secret Cooks Club. The themes for the dinners are discussed on the club's Facebook page and website. Image source: Thomas Gorrisen
Boring is certainly not a word that can be used to describe a dinner hosted by the Secret Cooks Club.
Since its inception in February, it has organised suppers that required every dinner guest to send in saliva samples, with meals subsequently created based on their DNA.
Last month, it served a dinner for six inspired by the Japanese practice of nyotaimori - serving sushi on a naked woman's body.
This food club's novel nosh has also been featured in British newspaper The Guardian recently, with the paper describing its efforts as a 'culinary renaissance'.
Founded by expatriates Florian Cornu, 26, and Denisa Kera, 36, the group, which has attracted more than 200 members, bases its dinners on novel technology, philosophy and food science concepts.
Dr Kera, a professor of interactive media design at the National University of Singapore, who is originally from the Czech Republic, told The Sunday Times in an e-mail interview: 'Every dinner is unique and based on some new experience and idea we want to test. The main purpose is networking over food with new people and getting inspiration for the next dinner.'
It held its first dinner in February, and has been holding dinners every two or three weeks, she said. 
Dinner guests have numbered between six and 20 people. Members interviewed say they pay about $40 (RM98) to $50 (RM122) each time.

The themes for the dinners are discussed on the club's Facebook page and website, and have ranged from techniques of cooking duck to meals of galette (French crusty cakes) and crepes.
'When we get too many people interested in the event, we just ask other people to organise it in parallel, or we have to use some form of balloting in order to choose guests.'
The dinners are held at 'secret' locations, which are mostly the homes of members.
Dr Kera and Mr Cornu, an entrepreneur from France, met at Singapore's Hackerspace, an underground clubhouse for hackers.
Dr Kera, who has been living and working in Singapore for three years, said they decided to form the supper club 'as we simply believe food is the best social networking platform and most enjoyable form of interaction'.
Members post their comments often in praise of dinners that they have attended, uploading pictures of these events and updating each other on cooking equipment to buy.
A member, who declined to be named, said those who show up at the dinners are mostly young working professionals 'who enjoy food and like to try food prepared in fun and adventurous ways'.
Besides organising dinners, the group has also converted rice cookers into equipment for sous-vide - a method of cooking food by sealing it in airtight plastic bags in a water bath - and done food ethnography projects in Indonesian wet markets.
Dr Kera added that the group does not know when the next dinner will be held, but as she is getting a cat soon, she will propose an upcoming dinner for cats and people.

Source: Straits Times/ANN

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