Monday, April 28, 2008

Virtual Chef

My friend Julie lives in Istanbul, where she's created an interactive art space. They do all kinds of cool collaborative projects there, one of which is called Virtual Chef. Someone in another country gives Julie a recipe, and she wanders all over town trying to find the ingredients.

Then at an appointed time Julie talks on Skype (a free Internet phone service) with the person, who gives directions for making the dish to Julie and the thirty or forty guests she has over for dinner. The person whose recipe it is usually makes the dish at the same time (wherever they are).

In Julie's art space there are surveillance cameras set up so the cooking process can be streamed live and on TVs set up throughout the space -- so the guests can participate in the cooking, watch in person, or watch on a monitor.

Afterwards, Julie edits the footage from the art space together into a film that she posts online.

I told Julie I wanted to be a part of Virtual Chef, so she asked me to cook something for a "Happy Birthday!"-themed event on Friday. I took the day off work, and at the appointed time we contacted each other on Skype.

Because I couldn't cook and talk on the computer/phone and take photos all at once, I asked Rayne to come over. Here's a few photos from the event. (We made my broccoli and leek pie and a chocolate torte.)

Making dough for the crust.

Cutting vegetables to saute.

Mixing everything together (I added sauted cubes of tofu this time).

Oops, we made too much filling.

But the pie is still delicious.

And we're composting a lot of scraps.

The torte was delicious also.