KCAI Undergraduate Thesis

“Tapas Micros” is a set of porcelain, restaurant service ware designed to accommodate a Micro Menu or Tasting Menu. The micro menu is a trend in restaurants; guests are served several (sometimes 10 or more) courses of highly conceptual and sculptural food. The small bites, or “tastings” as they are sometimes called, accentuate textures of food and simple or complex flavor pairings. The difficulty with this new trend is that modern restaurant tableware has remained the same for decades and has yet to accommodate the uniquely sculptural aspects of the food presentation. “Tapas Micros” serves to fill that void and allow chefs to prepare and present sculptural food on sculptural objects.

The purpose of this project is to understand better how these objects actually function in restaurants. My current interest in restaurant ware stems from a desire to engage multiple users on multiple levels, i.e. chef, servers, and patrons.

My ceramic forms originate from standard functional objects like a spoon, or bowl, cup, or plate while seeking to challenge a preexisting understanding of that object and it’s function. I try to engage the user by creating a moment where they must stop and rethink how they will interact with the object.

Here, the project is shown as displayed in the gallery at the Kansas City Art Institute. Pedestals were designed in Rhino 3D utilizing CNC technology to cut the shapes that make up each form. This display was paired with a private dinner coordinated by staff at Lill’s on 17th Bistro where the ideas for the project first emerged. A tasting menu was created by Chef Carmen Cabia for around 35 invited guests including my professors.

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