Flow Communications recently assisted at an event hosted by Pascale Sobiecki, head of food at Nando’s. The event took place at Nando’s headquarters in Lorentzville, Johannesburg – more fondly known as “central kitchen”.
The intention behind the evening was to explore the relationship between our senses and food. Everyone knows that we taste food, but not everyone is aware that we actually consume food using all of our senses.
To demonstrate this, Sobiecki constructed a five-course, five-senses event in which she carefully paired freshly prepared food with each of the chosen senses. An added element of surprise for guests was that the food wasn’t Nando’s – although it was based on the ingredients found in Nando’s delicious PERi-PERi sauce.
Guests were welcomed to the Nando’s kitchen and seated around the kitchen griller, where the two chefs for the night got ready to prepare the series of dishes. Once seated, each guest received a packet filled with specially chosen tools.
The first sense focused on was taste. Guests were given soft, black-fabric blindfolds to mask their eyes before their first meal. Once all their blindfolds were on, the team also filled the room with big blue balloons as part of the experience. Guests were then served mushroom croquette, roasted garlic puree, black aioli with black truffle.
The second dish was sea bass carpaccio with mango, chilli, lime and coconut, paired with red-tinted glasses to be worn while eating the meal, to alter the sense of sight. Guests were surprised to discover that the dish tasted hotter when eaten with the red glasses on.
The Nando’s team then brought out bowls filled with dry ice, lemons and herbs. The meal was roast chicken (not Nando's-flavoured) on a bed of roasted potato and carrot, and drizzled with spinach purée. As the meal was served, the bowls were filled with hot water, transforming the room with delicious, intense aromas that added to the whole experience.
The fourth meal was a spiced, braised oxtail with dry-aged sirloin, butternut and chickpeas – paired with the sense of sound. At this stage guests were handed a portable MP3 player to listen to chosen tracks as they feasted on their meal. The objective of the soundtrack was to see whether the sound of the music would alter the taste of the dish.
The final sense to be explored was touch. Dessert elements were laid out on a table and guests were invited to create their own dessert using deconstructed pastries, nata (thickened milk cream), farturas (Portuguese donuts), berry coulis, milk tart panna cotta and chocolate mess.
An equally important element from a Flow PR perspective was to get the guests to share their unusual food experience via social media on the night.
As a result, the event subsequently trended on Twitter, which made for a happy client who praised the combined team for its good work.