08.24.2018

Vespertine, Food as an Event

In Culver City, Los Angeles, art, architecture and food define a new restaurant concept thanks to the visionary mind of chef Jordan Kahn

  • Vespertine, Food as an Event
  • Vespertine, Food as an Event
  • Vespertine, Food as an Event
  • Vespertine, Food as an Event
  • Vespertine, Food as an Event

This is not a restaurant.It takes Magritte's surrealism to describe Vespertine, the new idea of ​​Jordan Kahn, “best new chef of 2017” according to Food & Wine. A dinner at Vespertine overcomes the trite definition of “experience” and verges towards that of an event which takes place in a space and a time that are utterly unforgettable. 
 
As for the space, Vespertine is housed inside a building without walls, a corrugated glass enclosure covered with a steel grid that earned it the nickname of “The Waffle”. It was designed by Eric Owen Moss, the architect behind the most innovative and futuristic buildings of Culver City, the LA suburb where Vespertine is located. 

Moss first came to Culver City when it was a ghost towndue to the relocation of the film studios, including Metro Goldwin Mayers which had had  its main production center here since the 1920s, in the 1970s and 1980s. 
 
Starting from the 1990s, the city began to attract a new pioneering population of artists, creative professionals and start-uppers, including Moss himself, who created a series of hot spots. Following this wave, Jordan Kahn launched Destroyer, a unique bistro with a sci-fi aesthetics designed by Kahn, and later Vespertine (2014), a space which is a veritable swirl of inspirations and references: from the sculptures hanging in the large foyer to the elevator and the steel tables with a transparent acrylic top in the 22-seat dining room.

Music is also a crucial element in Jordan Kahn's staging: it marks time and changes according to the space. For instance, strange and disharmonic sounds accompany patrons accessing the foyer, so that once inside they will have an immediate feeling of relief, landing in a pleasant elsewhere. The elevator is the only silent place, being the transit space that leads first to the roof, where guests are invited to enjoy snacks, and then to the restaurant hall. 
 
Dinner is a very structured 18-course ritual, with dishes that are hard to identify at first glance, with unpredictable but sharp flavors. Everything contributes to taking guests to another dimension, where everything feels alien, including the waiters dressed in uniforms designed by Brooklyn, NY based designer, Jona Sees. Because choosing Vespertine means losing one’s bearings and getting away from the usual trendsto indulge in a sequence of gestures that activate all five senses. 

In the world of Jordan Kahn, food becomes the leitmotif of a story experienced individually in another world: could there be anything more appropriate for a restaurant in the city of Angels and cinema?
 

Author : The Slowear Journal

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