1883 Magazine
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Fine dining and raving might sound like a recipe for disaster, but two leading chefs from Las Vegas have proved it’s actually a match made in heaven.

Wil Bergerhausen (Executive Chef at Le Cirque at Bellagio Resort & Casino) and Christophe De Lellis (Executive Chef at Joël Robuchon at MGM Grand Hotel & Casino) talk to us about collaborating with world-renowned DJ’s to create the multi-sensory experience B-EAT for Tomorrowland – the world’s biggest EDM festival, hosted annually in Belgium.

 

Fine-dining and EDM music are not the kind of thing you usually expect to see paired. How did the B-EAT collaboration come about?

WB: We wanted to bring the Las Vegas experience to Tomorrowland. In Las Vegas, travellers will go to fine dining restaurants to have an amazing culinary experience and then go out for the night to see the most famous DJs in the world; who play in our resort nightclubs regularly. B-EAT brings both worlds together in a unique dining party. It was the ideal way to bring the ultimate Vegas experience to the festival.

CDL: Indeed, we have a great food scene with celebrity chefs such as Joel Robuchon, Morimoto and Guy Savoy, and some of the best nightclubs in the world. There is no better way to bring both into the same room!

Which DJ’s did you collaborate with?

WB: I worked alongside Laidback Luke and Blasterjaxx, who both perform in Las Vegas nightclubs and at Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas.

CDL: I went up with Afrojack and Florian Picasso, It was an amazing experience! I was able to see Afrojack play many times in Las Vegas at Omnia at Caesars Palace or Wet Republic at MGM Grand, but I have to say that performing next to each other was a unique experience.

Where do you start with a project like this? What comes first, the music or the food?

WB: The style of the artist inspires the menu. That is our starting point and we build each course out from there. Laidback Luke and Blasterjaxx have unique artistic expressions, so I used the energy of their sounds to craft dishes that would gel with the music. For example, to accompany high-energy tracks I added some spice or acidity to the dish, while to pair with a more low-key vibe the dish should have sweet elements to round out the flavour. The process was very intricate – from testing menu items to discussing the sourcing of ingredients with the catering team in Belgium, to the final execution at the B-EAT sessions. 

CDL: I started by choosing dishes I could execute for 250 people within each one hour session, and dishes that people could eat standing up while dancing. I also needed to make sure the menu would please an international clientele because people come to Tomorrowland from all around the world. The DJs didn’t know anything about the food before the show started. They discovered it while they were performing – they ate everything!

Can you describe some of the dishes you served?

WB: The first course was foie gras with a carrot and chamomile jam, lemon gelée and cilantro oil. I wanted the second course to be something more powerful so I served braised veal cheeks with girolles mushroom and kohlrabi. Then to finish a tropical cheesecake with passionfruit, kiwi and mango, and honeycomb shizo. 

CDL: The first course was a turnip ravioli with lobster and honey vinaigrette – really refreshing and crunchy, the perfect way to open your palette. The second course was the famous mashed potato from Mr. Robuchon, topped with duck confit, truffle and coffee foam. The dessert was ‘le parfum des iles’ – caramelized banana custard with rhum pineapple and coconut foam with chocolate pop rock; something light to finish the meal.

Can sound enhance taste, and vice versa?

WB:  Yes. Joy is all about the senses – taste, sound, touch and sight. When paired together in any form, the experience becomes more memorable.

CDL:  All the senses are connected together. Food and music are both a part of hospitality; they complete each other.

How did this compare to a usual shift in the kitchen?

WB: It is a very different experience from the quiet kitchen I am accustomed to – we are right next to the DJ, interacting with the crowd. During each B-EAT session, we could feel the energy from the crowd and you can see the guest’s reaction right away, which is lovely.

CDL:  It is really hard to compare because the pace, organization and room are so different, but the goal stays the same: create a great moment. I interacted with the crowd by going into the middle of the dance floor to serve food. I loved the music so I had to dance as well but when it’s time to serve the food, I went to the kitchen to make sure everything was executed on time.

Has this collaboration taught you anything that you’ll be taking back to Las Vegas with you?

WB: I’ve learned that music is not much different than cooking. We both strive for the same thing – to make people happy and to bring them as much pleasure as possible.

CDL: I learned that you can pair food with anything and creativity has no limit. 

Why do you think immersive experiences have become so popular?

WB: Immersive experiences are popular because people want to have meaningful experiences and when someone is impacted through the senses, it makes memories last longer.

CDL: Guests want to create special moments that they will treasure forever. When one or more of the senses is touched in a meaningful way, it positively impacts people and presents an overwhelming feeling of joy.

Is there anyway for people not lucky enough to be at Tomorrowland this year to experience B-EAT?

WB: Come to Las Vegas! It’s the entertainment capital of the world, with world-class cuisine and renowned DJs.

CDL: B-EAT was a small version of what we do in Vegas every day – we provide experiences like that 7 days a week in Las Vegas. You can come to our restaurant, have a full 16-course tasting menu and later go across to the casino to listen to the best dance music in one of the best nightclubs in the world.

Are there any other people or disciplines you would like to collaborate with?

WB: I feel there is no limit to collaboration with any type of performer. I am willing and ready to work with any discipline that can bring joy to a crowd.

CDL: Artists of all kind inspire each other all of the time, so why not come together?

 

Weekend 2 of Tomorrowland 2017 takes place 28-30 July. Tickets for B-EAT sessions are available for festival ticket holders to purchase here: www.tastesoftheworld.com

Tomorrowland is an electronic music festival held annually in Boom, Belgium. Eurostar offer direct trains from London to Brussels with fares starting from £58 return. For further information visit: tomorrowland.com; eurostar.com; visitlasvegas.com/tomorrowland

Interview by Gemma Latham

Gemma is Managing Editor at Show Media, a creative agency in Shoreditch, East London. She writes about a wide range of lifestyle topics from food and drink, to fashion, culture and wellness.

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