London based designer Kyoko Takemura explores his obsession for food and everyday life oddities in his photos and cooking book.
Mussels in jelly, dried fish, lamb brain curry: Kyoko Takemura likes to cook and take photos of London's weirdest food. Whether to show the incoherence of our daily lives or just to share a unusual recipe, he roams the British capital seeking improbable delicatessen.
Konbini: Hi Kyoko, can you tell us what went through your head to make a photo series dedicated to canned food?
Kyoko Takemura:The idea behind my Canned project is to reveal the non-natural side of canned foods. I released this series for a school project which should reveal the absurdity and hidden details of our everyday lives. So I took the content of each tin, and solidified it before taking a picture of it.
I think canned food goes against the very nature of our foods: meat and veggies is only good for a couple of days, maybe weeks, and yet most people don't find it strange to store them for years in a little metal box...
Can you say anything about your Odd Recipe cooking book?
Odd Recipe's goal is to bring forward London's food diversity. I've seen every food stores: the Afro-Caribbean market, the Bangladeshi convenience store, fish markets, etc. There, I bought the weirdest ingredients and asked the store owners to share their recipes, which I then cooked myself.
I see today's food culture like an accumulation of different human behaviors: survival instinct ("I must eat something"), risk taking ("I don't know if it's edible but I must try it"), improvement of the day through the experience ("how can I make this recipe better"). At the end of the day, I think the book's recipes show the evolution of food has a strong cultural identity. Every plate is an involuntary sculpture, the necessity to feed ourselves turns into a piece of art.
You've cooked the dishes from Odd Recipe. Which is the best?
Without hesitation, skates. It's one of the easiest recipe, and in terms of smell and taste we're very close of the classic white fish fillet. However, the lamb brain curry wasn't as great.