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Complete sensory happiness

03 : 10 : 2016 Cacao In E Major : Ysanne Spevack : The Optimised Self

New York – An immersive dining experience explores the cross-modal nature of happiness.

  • Cacao in E Major combines sound, sight, taste, smell and touch in search of synaesthesia
  • The experience was conceived by composer and chef Ysanne Spevack
Cacao in E Major at The Alchemist Kitchen, New York. Photography by Riley Johndonnel Cacao in E Major at The Alchemist Kitchen, New York. Photography by Riley Johndonnel
Cacao in E Major at The Alchemist Kitchen, New York. Photography by Riley Johndonnel Cacao in E Major at The Alchemist Kitchen, New York. Photography by Riley Johndonnel
Cacao in E Major at The Alchemist Kitchen, New York. Photography by Riley Johndonnel Cacao in E Major at The Alchemist Kitchen, New York. Photography by Riley Johndonnel

Cacao in E Major brings together art and science in a work designed to stimulate synaesthetic ecstasy. Spevack developed a 5-course vegetarian menu featuring various incarnations of cacao, an ingredient containing mood-enhancing neurotransmitters, and visually infused with yellow (another happiness-generator).

Throughout the experience, diners were serenaded by The Conscious Chorus, whose music focused on the positivity-inducing E Major, while members of the choir fed and sensually touched the guests. Throughout the experience diners were monitored by neuroscientist Denis Pelli to record the effect of these stimuli on their brains.

Spevack, who works as both a composer and a chef, talked about the importance of adding a tactile element to her work. ‘Adding touch seemed essential, and was something that seemed very lacking in both [music and gastronomy] so it was really nice to go fully five cross-modal,’ Spevack tells LS:N Global.

The Big Picture

Consumers are in search of new social wellness experiences and are using food and dining as a means of improving their mental state. See Mood Dining in The Optimised Self for more info.