Bondir Food Opera offers sounds of the farm

August 15, 2013 by  

The Bondir Restaurant in Cambridge held a Food Opera night on August 6, during which diners were able to experience a five-course meal accompanied by a customized soundtrack. It is likely that Chef Jason Bond and composer Ben Houge, who made this out-of-the ordinary event possible, used flyer printing around the city to make patrons aware of the event so as to attract as many people as possible.

The organic produce and poultry for the meal came from farms in the nearby Concord area and Houge worked with Jutta Freidrichs, producer of the event, to develop the recordings played during the meal. These ranged from clarinet swells to chickens clucking, feet tromping through a field, and viola zings. Using three computers near the entrance of the restaurant, audio assistant Stephan Moore, together with Houge, inputted choices diners made and then synchronized these with the recordings.

Chef Bond says he started working with Houge three months prior to the event to develop the menu and the music. These were designed so as to play off each other and enhance the experience of the diners. He likes to create dinners offering aspects somewhat outside the line of typical dining. There were 26 speakers in the restaurant; one at each table.

Each dish had its own sound composed of a common tone and a program written by Houge, which enabled the chords to blend with those that were coming out of the speakers of other diners’ tables. This created an exceptionally uncommon experience for the diners.