“You eat with your eyes” is a well-known expression and there are plenty of dining experiences that take up the challenge of stimulating the senses, but Dinner in Motion in Eindhoven takes you on a delicious audio-visual-culinary journey.
Dinner in Motion founder Bram van der Vorst sums up the experience, "Dinner in Motion combines a 6-course dinner with a powerful audio-visual show. What you see, eat and hear is merged into a completely directed course – from haute cuisine and service to image, sound and message. Even the table vibrates, and you feel wind in your face with certain scenes.”
Bram and his colleague, Paul Notebaart hit upon the idea when they saw an exclusive event that cost a few thousand euros per person. They wanted to be able to offer an immersive dining experience, but at a much lower cost. At present, they’re in one location, but the popularity of the concept means that expansion is very much on the cards. But what actually happens at a Dinner in Motion event? Fun-loving foodie, Berry Wijnen, a Business Development Manager at Canon Netherlands gives us an insider’s view of what to expect after you’ve walked down the red carpet…
A warm welcome
“Normally you arrive around twenty minutes before the dinner starts. You go across the red carpet and into reception and get something that looks like an airplane boarding pass, because part of the experience is travel in a spaceship. Then the host welcomes you with a story and puts some caviar on your hand. They then they spray some gold edible glitter in the air, which lands on top of the caviar and then you taste the caviar. It’s a very classy, but warm welcome!”
“The next part of the venue is basically a very hip lounge area. It’s a very nice atmosphere – you can have a drink and there are some nice props, like antique cameras and projectors. There is a projection on the outer side of the actual dinner room that takes you into a prologue – like a starter of projection! – they warm you up with a story of what you’re about to experience and then the doors are opened on cue.”
Fine dining and state of the art technology
“In the room there’s a long simple white table which seats nineteen people on each side. This means that sometimes you’re sitting with people that you don’t know, but this is the fun part of it. Most of them will never have experienced something like this and so you immediately have a conversation piece – people start talking to each other “this is cool, isn’t it?”. The show starts with a countdown like a rocket launch and on the walls a projection is running, and it looks like the inside of a spaceship.
There are several themes shown during the dinner, all somehow related to the food that is served. So basically, if you’re being served seafood or fish you will see an underwater projection scene on the walls and on the tables and on the tables you can see fish swimming back and forth and coral moving. Also, on the edge of your dish is a projection – during the casino scene a spinning roulette shows in your dish.
There is a garden scene where a leprechaun comes out of the table and works in his garden, harvesting carrots from the table and running around your dish. It’s very cool!”
Do you remember the Eighties?
“There’s an animation of a TV showing pictures of all this 1980s style stuff, like Michael J. Fox and Knightrider. It gives you a very strong flashback and the funny thing is that the course that’s being served is basically a tartare made in a box shape, topped with edible paper printed to look like a cassette. It’s presented with black spaghetti, which is shaped on the plate to look like the tape has come out of the cassette. Everybody is like “wow, do you remember when you needed a pencil to roll the cassette up again?!”.
Back on earth, great nights take planning…
The whole experience seems so effortless, but everything has to work together in harmony. When you’re projecting to such an extent, attention to visual detail is essential. "The illusion could be disturbed by, among other things, blur, unbalanced colour and uneven light intensity,” explains Paul. “To prevent this we use state of the art Canon XEED projectors to take our guests to different environments, including a food truck festival, a casino and an underwater world. Everyone should have the same experience from anywhere at the table and this also requires alignment with the colours of the food. Grey lettuce or blue tomatoes do not look appetising."
Berry agrees “The goal is to have a dining experience, it’s about the total package. The food is very high quality and the dishes are presented like a top restaurant. It’s not relying on the projection only or the food only – it’s the total package that creates the experience.”