Caro Jesse / Food Artist

Immersive experiences, sensory food installations, visual stories, concept development, art direction, collaborations // STUDIO: Photography studio & location at The Bijou, Cape Town.

Sensory Food Experience: The Magic Faraway Tree

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A 5-course dinner with an ethereal feel based on the famous children’s books by Enid Blyton – the Magic Faraway Tree.

To transport guests to the top of the ‘Magic Faraway Tree’ and present a 5-course sensory food experience with a magical feel. I was invited by The Spier Secret Festival to host a secret dinner for the festival 2013.

The courses and sensory elements
– I transformed part of my home into an enchanted forest and the outside area with tree branch chandeliers, fairy lights and fire bins.
– The bathroom became a forest filled with trees, flowers and sound-sensitive birds. As one opened the door/made any noise, the birds broke out into song.
– Ivy was ‘growing’ into the rooms and all over the roof, tables and chairs.
– I created ‘invisible menus’ – hand drawn menus (by Xaxa Redelinghuys) with magical themes and provided UV torches so the guests could read them as they were written in invisible ink.
– Each course was named after a ‘land’ (from the books) and were designed to excite the eyes and the palate.

The land of do-as-you-please – Parmesan crème brûlée with nuts, goats cheese stuffed zucchini flower, roasted bone marrow, honey roasted half garlic bulbs, pan-seared wild mushrooms and edible flowers.
The land of fragrance – A Turkish inspired fragrant fillet of sustainable fresh hake with spices, orange and pistachios, cauliflower purée and micro greens.
POP! – Absinthe balloon anchored with a semi-precious stone. An iced dill and mint infusion and fresh herbs to enhance the sense of smell and taste. A pin was provided to pop the balloon and the air was scented with a fine mist of Absinthe.
We also provided some medicine droppers of pure Absinthe for those who were feeling adventurous.
The land of meat and beetroot – Handmade beetroot open ravioli with slow cooked lamb, red wine jus, beetroot dipped onions and baby vegetables.
The land of nostalgia – Granadilla ice, Nutella spoon and a Coke float.
Little parcels were gifted to each guest on leaving with a peanut butter and chocolate cat (made by LoveMilkandCookies) inside a silky bag.

See the video by Dan Calderwood from News24 Live.

Thank you to my team and all who contributed to this wonderful experience.

Most of the images by a photographer from