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Expo 2020 Dubai: Bompas and Parr promises to transport you to year 2321 with glow-in-the-dark ice cream

Artificial Intelligence and food are paired in this futuristic dining experience
Dubai: Hot dog, ketchup and ice cream cone – what probably would have been odd culinary inventions to the audience of 20th-century World Expos are now irreplaceable snack staples of our generation. Expo 2020 Dubai will carry on the legacy; among its 200-plus food and beverage outlets and robot servers, there is a themed banquet awaiting diners who love a little spice, drama and adventure on their table.

We’re referring to the grandiose foodie experience aptly titled ‘The Future of Food: Epochal Banquet’ by London-based creative studio Bompas & Parr housed in Expo’s Sustainability District.

When you sit down at the long banquet table for your three-course dinner of two hours, you will be sampling a spread from the year 2321 - or at least that''s how its creators envision it. Sam Bompas, co-founder of the studio alongside Harry Parr, assures that the meal will be had in the best-case scenario, where artificial intelligence (AI) will graduate from our dystopian films and books to stage a “joyous” banquet.

“Imagine theatre colliding with a dinner show,” was all Bompas said in an interview with Gulf News, adding that more details on the eclectic menu will be released closer to the show date. Visitors can book their seats as an add-on to their regular entry ticket on the official Expo 2020 website (, keeping in mind that the experience is limited to three shows per day.

Not-so-wobbly beginnings
Housing a team of chefs, set designers, architects, graphic designers, and specialists of various disciplines, Bompas & Parr is somewhat of an innovation hub for food and drink. Its experimental streak birthed the world’s lightest dessert (a soft, cloud-like meringue), glow-in-the-dark ice cream and ramen, and flavoured fireworks. To think it all started with a fascination for jellies 14 years ago.

“[Harry and I] had a shared curiosity and interest in food and drink. We wanted to [start] a jelly company – historically, the British were very, very good at making jellies,” said Bompas. “We got distracted [along the way]; within a month, we’re doing full catering, 12-course Victorian breakfast … within a year, we’re hosting jelly banquets for two thousands of people at the same time.”

Their current project took two years to develop with Expo 2020 Dubai, and it is the studio’s biggest one since its inception – about 60 staff members make up the dedicated team for the world fair.

Food for thought: The Novacene theory
Behind the embellished curtains and posh setting, there lies a thought-provoking narrative touched by food. According to Bompas, food is the perfect vehicle for storytelling with its universal and accessible connection to multiple cultures on the planet. At Expo, Bompas & Parr is realising English scientist James Lovelock’s Novacene worldview, a theory that predicts the cohabitation of humans with hyper-intelligent beings born of AI in the very near future.

Source: Gulf News

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