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THE JAGUAR #06

  • Text
  • Pace
  • Seoul
  • Racing
  • Sagmeister
  • Jaguar
Often provocative, always creative: meet graphic designer Stefan Sagmeister | The British woodcrafters bringing a new dimension to an age-old skill | Sample Paul Pairet’s Michelin-starred culinary delights in Shanghai | See how Iris van Herpen is redefining fashion technology | Time-travel to the futuristic city of Seoul

FOOD Do you go to

FOOD Do you go to McDonald’s? You should,” says Paul Pairet, the French-trained chef and creator behind Ultraviolet in Shanghai. The restaurant is the only one in all of Mainland China awarded with three stars in the 2019 Michelin Guide – yet Pairet is using the fast-food chain as an example to explain ‘psycho-taste’, a concept central to his establishment. “It is the idea that you get an after-taste before you even taste the food,” he asserts. When you visit McDonald’s, Pairet says, the memory of the cheeseburger you desire springs up inside your head before you’ve even placed an order. And then: “While ingesting the food, you will compare its taste to the taste that you have in your mind.” It is a concept everyone can relate to, he says – and this is perhaps why Ultraviolet has been such a hit. In 2017, the first edition of Michelin’s Shanghai guide awarded it two stars. In the latest edition of the guide, Ultraviolet reigns as the city’s only restaurant with coveted three-star status. Ultraviolet opened as a multi-sensory dining concept in 2012. Featuring a single, ten-seater table in a windowless environment, the restaurant uses projection, light, sound and scent to create an immersive dining experience. The engagement of all five senses aims to provoke diners’ memories, and connect them with the food in front of them. The notion is rooted in Pairet’s childhood, when he enjoyed his mother’s cooking the moment a dish was ready and hit the table. Frustrations as a young chef, when he felt he couldn’t recreate the perfect serving conditions for each dish, eventually led to the launch of his own restaurant. The Ultraviolet concept was a dream he had nursed since 1996. “Ultraviolet is, above all, designed [for us] to cook at our best, to reach the peak of every dish,” he explains. “And to do this, you need to cook like you do at home.” This means having control over factors such as the number of guests. Ultraviolet differs from the typical fine-dining experience right from its location – “completely remote”, given that no walk-ins are accepted (the waiting list for a seat is around four months). It is in a nondescript space, behind a car park “somewhere in Shanghai”, as the restaurant cryptically tells its guests, who have to meet at Mr & Mrs Bund, Pairet’s modern French eatery, and are driven to Ultraviolet. It’s part of the build-up to the evening and “a bit like going back to school,” he says. “Sometimes we have some very wealthy guests. They all go in that little bus.” Once inside, guests sit down to a four-hour dinner featuring around 20 courses, depending on which of Ultraviolet’s four menus is on offer, which unleash the full force of Pairet’s creativity. For instance, there’s the ‘very-sea sea-scallop’: sea scallops, urchin, ponzu-marinated seaweed and hazelnut croutons topped with a ‘snow shell’ made with lime and seawater. Or the ‘abalone primitive’, featuring the prized shellfish often served in Chinese banquets: cooked in a pan with powdered roasted leeks, surrounded by rosemary, dill and peach wood, lit with pastis, and served in a shell with a yuzu puree. This is intricate food but, behind the scenes, it’s a well-honed operation. Pairet no longer always makes an appearance but has trained his team, led by head chef Greg Robinson, to exacting standards. The ratio of staff to guests is 2.5:1, one of the highest in the industry. In the kitchen, the team works precisely and seamlessly while, in a control room, staff manage seven projectors, 22 speakers and a dry scent diffusion system inside the dining room in real time to bring to life the immersive experience: “I cannot do a monotone kind of dinner,” Pairet says. The ‘very-sea sea-scallop’ is served alongside the calming undulations of ocean waves, Beethoven’s Adagio Cantabile and a light beach scent. His famous ‘truffle burnt soup bread’, meanwhile, is more than just toast soaked with meunière sauce: projections of a forest appear to the affable tunes of classical pop pianist Gonzales’ Carnivalse. When the smoke-filled glass dome that covers the dish is lifted, you smell cigars. The visuals not only complement the earthy flavours, but are a nod to tales of truffle hunters smoking 48 THE JAGUAR

XXXXXXXXXX “ULTRAVIOLET IS DESIGNED TO REACH THE PEAK OF EVERY DISH” Paul Pairet with his head chef Greg Robinson, overseeing Ultraviolet’s inventive 20-course menu THE JAGUAR 49

 

JAGUAR

JAGUAR MAGAZINE #07

 

JAGUAR MAGAZINE celebrates creativity in all its forms, with exclusive features that inspire sensory excitement, from seductive design to cutting-edge technology.

The latest issue features a range of inspiring people: from Luke Jennings, creator of Villanelle, one of the most interesting television characters in recent times, to Marcus Du Sautoy, who ponders whether artificial intelligence is on the brink of becoming creative. Out on the road, we visit the US to explore the foodie heaven of Portland in a Jaguar I-PACE, take a Jaguar XE to the south of France to get a photographer’s viewpoint of the charming town of Arles, and much more.

The Library

JAGUAR MAGAZINE #07
THE JAGUAR #06
THE JAGUAR #05
THE JAGUAR #04
The JAGUAR #03
The Jaguar #02
THE JAGUAR #01
The Blockbuster Issue

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