US musician and chef creates a dinner with a difference

US musician and chef creates a dinner with a difference
Ysanne Spevack (standing) plans to serve up a dining experience that treats all our senses. Photo: The Conscious Cook website
Ysanne Spevack has conjured a meal that features cacao, music, visuals and smells aimed at mass enjoyment
Published: 2:00 PM, September 21, 2016

NEW YORK — People take pleasure in music. And food. And touch. So why not bring all of the senses together at once?

A new concert and dinner in New York aims to stimulate simultaneously all five senses, with the goal of maximising happiness.

The project, conceived by composer and chef Ysanne Spevack, will revolve around a meal that emphasises crowd-pleasing cacao as well as music, visuals and smells that are equally aimed at mass enjoyment.

Members of her “Conscious Choir” will physically feed the guests and touch them sensually (but not sexually) during the evening.

Spevack, who calls her project “Yntegrity” and the event “Cacao in E Major,” said that people in the natural world would have a greater balance among the five senses.

“If you’re a primate in the rainforest, all of your senses are much more balanced in the information to your brain than when you’re in a digital environment and looking at your phone,” she said.

“I believe that experiential performance is the future. I think the idea, for me, of just having a piece of music has felt unsatisfactory for at least 10 years,” she said.

The inaugural event will feature an unreleased song by Billy Corgan, frontman of alternative rock greats Smashing Pumpkins.

Called Wild Wind, it was the last song recorded by psychedelic rock singer Sly Saxon before his death in 2009 and features Corgan on a stripped-back acoustic guitar, Spevack said.

The lyrics were fitting for the occasion as “you have this beautiful, spiritual old man talking about a dinner,” said Spevack, who played strings with Smashing Pumpkins.

The event will also incorporate a track by a new band with Shepard Fairey, the US street artist best known for his Obey clothing line and his iconic “Hope” poster of Barack Obama during his 2008 presidential campaign.

The band, called Noise, will release an EP, Little Lions, on Friday, which includes a remix by Moby.

The project will include a score by Spevack in E Major and visuals in yellow — judged to be the happiest of keys and colors — as well as a silent auction of works by Uncle Riley, an artist who focuses on optimism.

The dinner will be entirely plant-based except for bee products, with attention to the ethics in the sourcing of ingredients, with Spevack equally conscious about not causing unhappiness through food production.

Spevack plans to put on another “Cacao in E Major” in Los Angeles before expanding the project, which she keeps to an intimate 36 guests.

Staying with the project’s theme, partial proceeds will go to the International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression, which aims to ensure that all depressed people around the world have access to treatment. AFP