Big Ideas for the Future

A feast for the brain, a treat for the senses and…serious pause for thought…all of these and more are delivered by the latest culinary-themed exhibition at London’s Victoria & Albert Museum – FOOD: Bigger Than The Plate.

For a family that marches on its stomach, this future-gazing food exhibition got a firm thumbs up for a recent day trip. Loving London’s current food culture as we do, we were intrigued to explore what our dining trips of the near future might look like.

For those not really paying attention, you could be forgiven for turning up and thinking it was about food, menu trends and other global factors. In fact, FOOD: Bigger Than The Plate was much more than that. Bigger, in fact…

Starting with how we actually can reduce, reuse and recycle what we consume across the food chain, the exhibition covered a diverse variety of topics from the production, logistics and marketing of the food that we eat every day. Starting from a base of doing more with less, we saw firms like KaffeForm – who are making sustainable - and desirable - reusable coffee cups from used coffee grounds. As confirmed caffeine enthusiasts, elder daughter and I were both really taken with the on-site micro-farm which saw used coffee grounds used as a grow base for mushrooms and fungi which would shortly feature on the V&A’s café menus. The circle of life, indeed.

We saw how successful community recycling projects in India have not only significantly reduced street waste, but also brought people together. I would also heartily endorse the fallenfruit.org initiative – a crowd-sourced map of all the fruit trees overhanging London’s public spaces. Ripe for picking and enjoying across the capital - this was sustainable, creative and delicious. More please!

Continuing through the possible packaging and marketing of the future (some of which looked remarkably retro to these eyes!) the exhibition ended with a bespoke tasting menu created from locally sourced micro-nutrients. Based on a series of visitor choices, a bite-size snack was created with some space-age squeezy tubes, some tweezers and a little scattered magic dust! A salty, taste explosion on a foreboding blackened cracker was the result, and the review? Well, go along to the V&A, make your own choices and then we’ll compare notes!

All in all, a worthwhile visit and a trip that tempted the taste buds as much as it sought to expand our mental horizons

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