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Milan, a couple of years ago. I was sitting on a train on the way to attend a class on fake food and on how to make it. Similar to the ones used for adv commercials or put in front of Japanese restaurants.
I had never heard of Natascia before, but, I was really curious about food being used as a design material or plastic resins used to make food prototypes.
On my way there, a girl dressed with crazy candy patterned leggings set next to me. She opened her bag and started to take off boxes filled with super-colorful components, many tools and biscuits, and I just couldn’t stop watching. When I got to the class, I realized in fact that she was the one teaching it.
Natascia Fenoglio is an Italian food designer who likes to investigate the limits and potential of food materials. She invents and creates new languages of edible aesthetics in domestic, public or temporary contexts (museums, exhibitions, installations and celebrations), by learning and applying traditional craft knowledge from all over the world.
Treating food with its technical and mechanical characteristics, Natascia works to create curious worlds, interiors, edible objects linked in between the Arts and Design, mixing different fields, reversing situations, and changing the function and essence of things.
After studying Fine Arts and Design, she founded the Ciboh collective, in 2003. Since 2010, after the collective Ciboh was disbanded, she started working individually with a mode increasingly closer to art installations and performance food.
Not just her work is peculiar, she also has a bizarre way in which she imagines or tells things, a world of dreamt up words and imagines.
In her own words:
What is the first taste you remember, and why?
Pasta! As a child I did not eat anything but boiled pasta without any sauce, I used to call it "cocoa butter pasta". I spent entire days sitting on a marble slab in the kitchen of my family's restaurant in Turin.
The marble counter was used to cool the pre-cooked pasta. I loved to eat half-cooked pasta and, later, with a full belly, I used to play with it kneading it with my hands until it became dough again. Then I used to create small animals to be sold to the old patrons of the restaurant.
If you were a dish, which one would you be?
The warm salad cooked by my grandmother when it's the season: Roman cabbage, beans from Conio (a small town in Liguria), boiled potatoes, raw red onion, mountain oregano, oil, vinegar and salt all served "caldino" (almost hot). My grandmother calls this dish "map salad", she does not know why, but I think she calls it this way because the Roman cabbage looks like a map, a city or a mountain range view.
A ‘tasteful’ suggestion you’d give your best friend?
I invite people I care for to eat in my bed, which is the place where I prefer to eat my meals, it's the place where I feel happy. Me and Linda my assistant, often eat in bed maybe watching a good movie animation and sipping a broth with cappelletti (a type of pasta).
Year 2050: in your opinion, what do we find on our tables?
I guess at that point we will be like an episode of Mezil Family (an animated hungarian tv series from the Seventies) especially the one entitled "Planet in two dimensions". Aladar, the main character, and his dog Fofi, travel with an inflatable spacecraft to parallel worlds...
Foods in 2050 will be bi-dimensional. I'll be bi-dimensional and I'm sure I can be easily inserted in a burger and look perfectly fitted.
*Natascia, with her parallel project Cookyes also made the official Christmas biscuits for FDL.