I have just finished working with Wild Card PR on a wonderful, but challenging, project for food brand Unearthed, heading up the development, creative direction and execution of the 193 stunt. It’s like nothing I have ever done before, but being a 193 course tasting meal eaten over 24 hours I am also pretty sure it’s something which no one has done before. Unearthed is a brand which ‘discovers food’ from around the world, and the 193 concept was developed following a brainstorm on the strongest way to communicate this messaging; what better way is there to promote the discovery of new foods than with a menu featuring something from every country in the world. Unearthed products were also available in the restaurant for visiting media including their pear & almond tart which I a little obsessed with (below – you can buy it in Waitrose). The client was happy that only a few of the courses would feature their foods, and it was this subtle messaging which made it a great success for them, after all there is nothing more off putting to media than over branding. The subtle approach worked with branded coverage in the Stylist, People, Express, Thrillist and many more. The project was even featured on the holy grail of foodie TV – Sunday Brunch. All this coverage placed by Wild Card PR, the team led by the wonderful Delilah.
Developing the menu was both challenging and daunting, and we purposefully chose not to feature exotic meats and such as Zebra. I felt this would have been a lazy creative approach, plus of course it was not possible to confirm that some of the more tropical meats had been responsibly sourced (Camel with a tracable source was the most unique meat served). Instead we focused on bringing together a selection of dishes which are commonly eaten by the native population giving a real taste of each country.
A team of four – including Simon and Carrie from Unearthed bravely ate their way though the entire menu for 24 hours, and I take my hat off to them. I was a little concerned we broke the lovely Paddy Hill (a People reporter) by the end, although he reassures me we just almost broke him; either way you can read his piece here. Other journalists joined the table for a shorter time period such as William Hartson from the Express who was at the table for a mere 9 hours (view his piece here). Following the 24 hour menu we then opened up a pop up restaurant for two nights allowing the general public to sample some of the dishes which were featured on the menu. Serving the infamous durian as the last course certainly helped in clearing the room for the next sitting.
All of the cooking, sourcing of ingredients from a 40 page shopping list, and logistics which would have baffled Rain Man, were managed by Jon and Ralph from MADD, with the Janetira Thai Resturant (they make amazing Pad Thai) in Soho kindly agreeing to host us. When the chef emerged from the kitchen 24 hours later brandishing a bottle of beer a round of applause had never been more deserved. Now if you’ll excuse me I need to eat something very bland and very ordinary whilst my taste buds recover for the onslaught of new flavours they have had over the past few days.