Are you a neophobe or a neophile?
That opening question is a far cry from the usual, ‘would you like water for the table; still or sparking?’. I’ve also never been asked my age and gender just after being seated, hardly polite table etiquette is it? This start gave me an inkling that this was hardly going to be a polite dining experience, this was an experiment… and here we were, two tables of hungry, intrigued, and perhaps somewhat nervous guinea pigs.
Leading us through this experiment were two truly talented (but quite frankly mad) scientists; psychologist Charles Spence who has worked with another well known gastronomic experimentalist with a very expensive restaurant, numerous tv shows and even a range of appliances, and Jesse Dunford-Wood, creative chef extraordinaire and owner of The Parlour in which we were dining. When I received the invite with the rather ambiguous description of the evening I had no idea what to expect; after listening to these two enthusiastically introduce the concept, I decided there was no point trying to anticipate what was coming and just go along for the ride!