Talk event report: EAT & ART TARO×Hideki Murakami×Fumio Yonezawa and Fram Kitagawa

2018 TRIENNALEPosted : June 11, 2018

The thrid talk event was under the theme of "food" and Fram Kitagawa introduced Fumio Yonezawa, chef de cuisine of "Jean-Georges Tokyo", Hideki Murakami, an owner chef of Kitchen Watarigarasu, and EAT & ART TARO, a food artist to the audience.

Kitagawa kicked off the talk by talking how food is an important element of the ETAT. One of the most talked-about feedbacks amongst visitors is how they enjoyed encounter with locals. Food connect visitors and local people and local places and thus most valuable component of the art festival. It is not just ETAT but food plays an important role in Setouchi Triennale as well as two newly launched festivals, Japan Alps Art Festival and Oku-Noto Triennale. The outcome from these initiatives is a revision of Basic Act for Culture and the Arts last year as art festival and food have been added as alternative cultural policies. It is a revolutionary revision in the history of Japanese cultural policy as it has always been based on the import and absorption of the Western culture since Meiji era. These three experts in food field have been invited to the ETAT2018 in order to enrich "food" element of the festival.

Yonezawa who produces the special lunch for the official guided tour participants first visited Echigo-Tsumari for the autumn event in 2015 after ETAT2015 was over. He used local ingridients and cooked something different from usual dishes and served 60 guests both from Tokyo and locals. Since then he has produced unique culinary experiences at Rei House (Spring 2016) as well as for glamping guests at Sansho House (Autumn 2016). Echigo-Tsumari is a place for Yonezawa to learn the starting point of food who doesn't have "hometown" as a person who was born and grew up in Tokyo. What a fun to cook with local people and share plates with them for lunch. He discovered that the best treat is what is produced in a place where you are which has made him re-consider various things.

He has been preparing over 30kg of fukinoto (mountain vegetables) picked up this spring to serve it as a sauce. "For people in Echigo-Tsumari, mountain vegetables which picked up in spring are something they will eat throughout the year. " He will also serve a new twist with herbs to a cold soup that local people always eat in summer. He has been focusing his energy on 8000 dishes which will be served to guests of the guided tour to Tsumari Kitchen at NUNAGAWA Campus during the festival.

Murakami from Kitchen Watarigarasu gave advice on menu for lunch served at Ubusuna House during ETAT2015 and since then engaged with Ubusuna House. Beautiful landscape of countryside. A building with and for porcelains. And more than anything very lively local people. He has been trying to propose simple menus of set meals for local people who are amusing and unique to cook and serve. Ubusuna House's sale comes up to JPY15,000,000 in 50 days. It also opens in between years of the festival and once served sweets served at tea ceremony in spring. "It took for a week to skin rabbits. I guess it was a little bit too much to ask" Murakami said. For ETAT2018, highlight of the menu features salmon and dishes using water for Hakkaisan. They will serve many guests with local delicacies in bowls and plates made by prominent potters. In order to rescue those who would find place to eat during the festival they will extend opening hours from 10 to 17 and even thinking about menu for side dishes.

EAT&ART TARO became an artist after completing his study at a college for professional cook. He met Kitagawa for the first time when he participated in an art event held at Ichihara-city in Chiba in 2012. He served high-ball and char-grilled squid to passengers who got off trains at a loca station on Kominato Line while waitign for the next train to catch for 90 mins. He then served "island soup" in Setouchi Triennale 2013 which became hugely popular. Since then he became one of the regular participating artists in art festivals that Kitagawa directs such as "the cucumber show" serving 4000 cucumbers and running a theatrical restaurant with local people at "Echigo-Tsumari Kamigo Clove Theatre" for ETAT2015, "The Saki Supper" in collaboration with Yubiwa Hotel for Setouchi Triennale 2016, and "Cabaret in Preparation” at the Furthest End" which was run by a local community at Oku-Noto Triennale in 2017. What he always tries to achieve through his projects is help people enjoy tasting delicious food. For ETAT2018, he will bring "The Okome Show" at KINARE which provides people to try tasting different rice produced in Echigo-Tsumari as well as serve "menu" insipired by "Hokuetsu Seppu" at the restaurant at Echigo-Tsumari Kamigo Clove Theatre.

Each of the three is different from the other two. There will be more projects at cafe and restaurant presenting collaborations between food and art. Kitagawa said "I would like to keep exploring the possibility of food." We look forward to having you to experience art and food at ETAT2018.