Some kind of magic happens when two senses become intertwined. Oftentimes, a certain smell gives way to taste, or sight and sound converge. But what about the relationship between touch and taste? Smell and sound?
This culmination of senses creates the human experience—one that is forged by the many inputs of life and our interpretation of them. Sensations can be bound by infinite combinations, creating a playground for those who have influence over consumers.
Take the foodservice sector, for example. Experiential dining is a concept that has taken the industry—and its consumer following—by storm. Instagrammable content gets diners into the seats, and the immersive experience keeps them coming back, usually with a friend or two.
Though the concept of experiential dining is not necessarily new, it is on the rise worldwide. According to Le Cordon Bleu, the movement is here to stay.
Restaurateurs let their imaginations run wild in this creative space. Underwater restaurants like Norway’s Under, for example, have grown in popularity, merging the mystified world beneath the blue with fine dining.
Other operators focus their attention on the plate. In Lilian Diep’s Experience the Flavor article, for example, she explores the integration of molecular gastronomy in the foodservice space, providing fruit foam and smoke as shining examples. One chain that’s had its hat in this ring for many years is Benihana and its sizzling onion volcanoes.
You might remember Serendipity 3’s Crème de la Crème Pomme Frites, which earned Allied Potato a spot in The Guinness World Record Book for the world’s most expensive fries. This plate of spuds has diners’ digestive tracts glittering with gold dust. Truffle mushrooms shaved tableside make the experience that much more enticing.
Or, restaurateurs can put the produce in consumers’ cups, similar to Sacramento, California’s, own Punch Bowl Social, which blends the sight and sounds of an upscale arcade with literal bowls of fruit punch.
As one of the most popular trends of 2023, my prediction is that this foodservice innovation will continue to place produce at the center of the plate. And in doing so, awaken all five senses.