Less Table / Food Is a Thousand Stories to Be Told
Your flight is soon, and the luggage is full. Full of apples. Not extra dresses, no. And the day before you had quite an all nighter while wrapping a tone of tangerines piece by piece. What an experience! And you are creating dozens of experiences yourself. Only these are food experiences that Less Table is an expert at. Three food, design and creativity lovers Julija Mazuriene, Ugne Menkeviciute and Zivile Luksyte are definitely not the ones who would hide behind the table – they are here for less food, less rush, more play and the best food stories one can wish to experience.
by RINGAILE PAPARTYTE
Story of Friendship
Zivile: Less Table started like a friendship in the first place. The three of us met at Vilnius Academy of Arts. And later we realized food is the thing that we all love and have a special interest to.
Ugne: Mostly because we didn’t like traditional ways of how food design works. Julija, our lector, always had these creative ideas she shared with us, and together we started making some food experiments and banquets. Out of curiosity first, but later it all started to grow.
Julija: I’ve been working with interior design, with furniture and objects, but it was always not enough. You are searching for your professional path all the time, actually. Food design was always somewhere near me. So together we started to make the ideas about food design alive.
Story of Food Design
Zivile: People always needed food. They also made fire and started to hunt, it was all a part of design process. That’s why now we can say that food design is an evolution of food culture. Less Table speaks about what is important here and now through food design. Yet even after many years we still have to explain that design is not only making some household objects. We think about rituals a lot, these are like the opposite to the industrialization.
Julija: Though industrialization was the main accelerator for food design. Packaging became more important, products were designed. Nowadays it is often expected that food designers will solve the upcoming challenges in the food market, lack of some products, for example. In our case, we are paying more attention to Lithuanian context, Lithuanian products, trying to present more conscious way of food use.
Story of Challenge
Ugne: Every single task becomes a new challenge, where you start to create from scratch. We make a research and look for new interesting angles all the time, so every project is very personal and demands much more time than a traditional way of preparing a usual banquet.
Zivile: We are creators and Less Table is still on it’s way full of experiments and discoveries. Edible presents, events, everything is interesting to us, so we’re trying different things, though it’s not easy.
Julija: As I love to joke, probably none business operates in a way we do, because we don’t see it as business in the first place. If we would, we’ve been long gone, because we put so much energy and creativity into every project. And we have some standards, certainly, quality is a constant thing, despite the size of the project. Mass production is not our goal.
Story of Stories
Julija: Our goal is to reveal what stands behind the food. That’s why stories are so important to us. We use food products for our installations, it helps to highlight where, for example, that exact carrot came from, why it is beautiful and what’s it’s story.
Ugne: We usually use the most basic and simple products. Especially now, when food market is so massive, when everything is made for consuming and eating faster, we forget and loose many food stories behind all this rush. And these stories are actually the most important. They enrich our daily life.
All: So not the food, not the visual part or the taste, but the stories come first in Less Table.
Story of Game
Zivile: Eat and go do your things – you can hear this quite often. It doesn’t apply to us, because we find the action which happens while eating the most interesting. We encourage being total opposite to the rules everybody usually like to set for eating. We encourage people to play.
Ugne: And to find more time to make a pause while playing. When you find more time to stop and to try something in a new way, there is a chance the story and the context behind it will be heard. You will experience it.
Story of Inspiration
Ugne: We leave some space for playing with food in our daily life too. Less Table somehow brings these ideas to my home aswell. For example, now there are three of us living at my place, so we write down the meals we would love to eat that evening, choose one as a lottery and cook it. Something strange and interesting comes up out of this experiment. Just like a perfectly frozen apple in my garden. I found one and it reminded me of sorbet, so why not to use it in the kitchen?
Zivile: Nature is the biggest inspiration in most of our projects, actually. Old traditions food culture offers us, play an important part in our projects too. We want to adapt them, to remind people of it.
Julija: As growing for many decades now food design is a wide concept. One of our icons and inspirations – Hollander Marije Vogelzang, calls herself Eating Designer, for example.
Ugne: There is this social project by Marije Vogelzang we would love to adapt and try ourselves. The initiative includes elders. Marije created a dinning type in a small restaurant, revealing the sores fast routines bring to our lives. So, if you visit the restaurant, you are asked to leave your shoes, put on some slippers, and enjoy your time while seniors bring the food in a very chilled mode.
Story of Rules
Zivile: The same designer was feeding people from her hands once. It‘s so intimate and looks so distant, so strange to us. We don‘t do it anymore, because of all the standards that were set and rarely questioned after. This is why we create our food experiences and try to be as near the person as possible.
Ugne: The system and all the rules shape our mindset, making us to believe that some plastic gloves are more sterile and closer to us than human hand. So, we take this challenge, trying to change these standards step by step.
Julija: And we are really lucky to actually see it happening – the standards being moved. We made this edible present from Vilnius City to Kaunas City on it’s anniversary. People were passing by the installation, all curious and eager to try. And they did – letting us to observe a whole bucket of emotions that are born while participating in this public food experience and realizing the story behind it.
So, if you’ll run into one of public or private installations, created by Less Table, try to experience the most of it and enjoy your meal! More stories by Less Table: here