In Conversation with Thompson Seattle’s Chef Derek Simcik and local menu artist, Dozfy.
Next month at Thompson Seattle, Executive Chef Derek Simcik will team up with local Seattle Menu Artist @Dozfy on an interactive six-course tasting menu dinner that aims to combine art and food in a night of discovery. Both Chef Derek and Patrick Nguyen, aka Dozfy, will interact with and encourage guests to “eat with their eyes” by taking turns plating a 6-course dining experience. We sat down with both of them for a Q&A to learn more about how this exciting collaboration will unfold.
How did you two cross paths in the Seattle food world?
Dozfy: Initially, I started “menuart” in Seattle about two years ago which first introduced me in the Seattle food world. Then it was through mutual friends in the Seattle Culinary world, we met in person when we began brainstorming for chef and art series. It was through these meetings that I knew we had a lot in common especially how we approach our creative outlets. We are now avid followers and supporters in each other works.
You’re planning a collaborative dinner at Scout on March 9th called “Eat with Your Eyes.” What’s your vision for this evening of food and art?
Dozfy: Chef Derek and I were both wondering how we could transform the traditional chef’s table type event. Chef Derek has had many successful events and I was fascinated how he incorporated tattoo artists and marijuana into a dining experience. At the same time, I was working on my “live art” series by working charity events and starting my Airbnb “menuart” experience. Then on New Year’s Eve, we fortuitously ran into each other and I pitched the idea of making a chef series focused on the visual experience. He was all on board and from there, we came up with “Eat with your Eyes.”
The idea of “Eat with your Eyes” stems from our involvement with the visual side of social media. While I make art out of menus, Chef Derek makes art out of food. I cannot cook to save my life but I can appreciate plating as an art form. With the advent of cooking shows like Netflix’s “Chef’s Table,” there is an audience for this as well. Thus we wanted to create a dinner series where we could engage the audience (restaurant diners) through a visual means. The easiest way we thought of was what if we challenged the audience to guess who “plated” the dish. We thought this would be a more interesting format than a competition like ‘who could plate a more appealing dish.’ More so, the point is to emulate an art museum or gallery experience. Here, we are placing food in front of them the same way we would hang a painting and the audience will not only ask “who did this,” but will view food on a plate as fine art. The cherry on top is that whoever has the most correct answers, will receive a plateart I designed for this one event.
Derek: My vision for the night is to have guests be able to enjoy a meal and evening with two artists of two different styles/mediums that are inspired by each other, hang out for the evening, and just be creative!
Dozfy, how do you choose which menu item to draw?
Dozfy: I am inspired by two things: the first, the ingredients on the menus – and second, the environment of the restaurant whether it be the decoration of the interior, the pace of the kitchen and servers, or the ambience of the diners.
How will the menu be influenced by Dozfy’s presence?
Derek: This menu is heavily influenced by him being there. Some dishes are modern in design by being very minimal and simple, but because we are both plating and looking at it as art I am thinking of dishes that are more than 3 components on a plate so we can both have fun plating differently.
Thinking about some of your past collaborative events at Scout (involving themes such as music, tattoo art..) it seems like you really enjoy mixing mediums: what driving force inspires you to create these events that combine food and other forms of art?
Derek: I want to show that art styles are not in silos but they truly do influence each other… and at the same time, I want guests to experience meals that have been influenced by mediums that you wouldn’t expect.
Join them for dinner on March 9th at Scout PNW: reservations here.