From 16 November 2021 to 7 August 2022, the Cité will present Banquet, a new temporary exhibition that can be savoured by people of all ages and which pays tribute to all the many pleasures of gastronomy. A real feast for all the senses!
The profusion and current success of cooking shows on television and social networks, as well as the interest and enthusiasm of the French for their gastronomic heritage, show how popular, unifying and intergenerational cooking is. Inventing, tasting, sharing... this activity is nourished by multiple cultural influences and is constantly renewed by its products, recipes and techniques. Classified as an intangible cultural heritage of humanity by UNESCO, the "gastronomic meal of the French" is a living heritage, accessible to all and which everyone can in turn enrich.
The Banquet exhibition is fun and playful, with a design by Frédérique Paoletti and Catherine Rouland, and offers visitors a multi-sensory and immersive experience that is both gourmet and festive. All of the public's senses are stimulated because they participate in the perception of taste: eating means seeing, but also smelling, tasting, touching and hearing.
The first stage of the exhibition: let's enter the kitchen, where everyone slips into the shoes of an apprentice cook who interactively learns the techniques for sublimating the various ingredients, their textures and aromas. Closely focused, the cook’s movements are essential and adapt to the structure of the food which dictates the procedures to be adopted. Whether they are familiar with cooking methods or know nothing about pots and pans, visitors can test their knowledge. Coached by professionals, they take part in "Top Gestures" in frisking a whisk, handling a rolling pin or a mandolin, while admiring the dance of the utensils presented in the form of an animated theatre, or trying out new aromatic combinations. Organised around nine stations adopting traditional codes, this kitchen has a few surprises hidden in its pantry.
Here, science takes a look at the reasons behind a "yum" and a "yuck". In this sensory space, visitors can test their tasting ability by taking part in a series of disconcerting taste experiments. Changing the colour, texture or aroma of a food can change the way it is perceived. Through tastings and manipulations such as "The taste of pink" with madeleines, or "The chocolate tester" with chocolates, all the senses are called into play.
Then comes the long-awaited moment to sit down to eat. The visitor becomes a guest. Synonymous with celebration and sharing, the banquet is a warm moment that encourages social interaction. One of the highlights of the exhibition is a collective show that features the world around the menu created by chef Thierry Marx and scientist Raphaël Haumont.
Combining projected images, mapping, sounds and smells, the table becomes alive in a succession of magical atmospheres, creating a dreamlike banquet. Beyond the celebration, several questions arise around the table: does such an event exist in all cultures? Is it organised around the same rituals? Have the functions of this moment of sharing evolved over time? What do our table manners reveal today? The exhibition ends with a look at the banquet in different cultures, eras and memories.
Accompanying the exhibition
Journal of the Banquet exhibition
Thanks to the three interviews with the scientific curators of the Banquet exhibition, a historical overview of the banquets of yesterday and today is revealed, coupled with a scientific journey to the land of flavours. The behind-the-scenes aspects of a banquet organisationas well as the rituals and social codes at work during this great event are also addressed in this journal, which highlights the heady surprises of molecular chemistry, the fertile ground for a technico-emotional cuisine.
24 PAGES | 42 x 21.5 CM | €4.95
The kitchen adventurers
Michelin-starred chef Thierry Marx and chemist Raphaël Haumont show their skills in this comic strip by Franckie Alarcon. Ania and Léo have to prepare a meal to welcome their class's foreign pen pals. But how can they do this when they are just nine years old and know nothing about cooking? Fortunately for them, Thierry Marx and Raphaël Haumont will come to the rescue and prepare a menu unlike any other and, at the same time, help them discover the science that lurks in the kitchen!
225 w 286 mm | 64 PAGES | €15.90