Architecting an Appetite

BUILDING A WORLD-CLASS MEAL REQUIRES MORE THAN A REFINED PALATE AND A BATTERED RECIPE BOOK. FOR INTERNATIONALLY RENOWNED CHEF LINDA HAMPSTEN FOX, TRULY ELEGANT FOODS OWE AS MUCH TO STRUCTURAL INGENUITY AS TO CREATIVE INSPIRATION.

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WORDS: CHARLIE KEATON | IMAGES: CRYSTAL ALLEN

The intersection of form and function is a crowded stretch of road. We take it for granted that people who work in explicitly design-oriented fields, like architecture, travel this route every day. But there are vast swaths of our lives that rely on the precise execution of clever, pragmatic, beautiful design. Right now we’re thinking specifically about food.

Linda Hampsten Fox comes by her esteemed culinary pedigree honestly. She grew up in a family who loved and valued real food. She trained all over the world, including more than a decade spent apprenticing with chefs in France, Italy, and Switzerland. If you recognize the name, that’s because she catered Modern In Denver’s Design In Bloom event the past two years, and she was even a private chef to clients ranging from Jane Goodall to Dave Matthews.

Along the way, she learned not only the nuances of selecting ingredients and managing kitchens, but also the fundamental importance of fusing disparate elements into something that stretches beyond the taste buds. When it comes to cuisine, composition matters. “We look at the layering of elements, of textures, of color, of drama,” said Fox, who is back in Colorado with a new venture, The Bindery Urban Market and Cafe. “We see food way before we taste it, and in architecture, there’s a similar thing. You’re seeing things before they come together. You’re combining things that you know will create something greater than the individual pieces. With food, the first thing you’ll experience is that you’ll see it, and then you’ll smell it, and then you’ll taste it. But it’s a visual experience first and foremost.”

Inspired by her detail for design, we invited Fox to construct a few succulent summer dishes that more clearly illustrate the architectural relationship between food and design for this Modern In Denver summer photo essay. Bon appétit!

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