The tart Tatin Syndrome


Steam Cells

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Steam Cells is a banquet of wonders. This project is the culmination of seven research projects by 7 students, resulting in a 7 course feast. The dishes investigate near realities and hyper fantasies, exploring the implications of current and emerging technologies through the presentation of fictional but edible scenarios - parallel worlds, extrapolated tangents, cautionary tales and design fictions. Inspired by the science and technology developed by the stem cells laboratory I-Stem in Evry (France), the work uses culinary and textile design as a medium to speculate and develop critical debate around our relationship with science and technology. 

Steam Cells is a research laboratory, a collaborative experiment that brings together Textile Design MA students from the School of art and design: ENSAAMA Olivier de Serres in Paris around the implementation of a culinary experience and its scientific and speculative context.

Steam-Cells benefits from the expertise of Benoît Castel, pastry chef, Vincent Giavelli, artistic director, Nathalie Allard and Isabelle Chappet, designers and tutors at ENSAAMA Olivier de Serres, Nelly Benhayoun, experience designer and  I-STEM laboratory (headed by Prof. Marc Peschanski) with the participation of Dr. Sebastian Duprat. 


The project ‘Steam Cells’ was exhibited at the Science Gallery in Dublin at the exhibition ‘EDIBLE the taste of things to come’, from the 10/02/12 to 05/04/13. 



All words & images provided are © Caroline Angiulo. 

All rights reserved.


The tart Tatin syndrome

Speculative culinary design project, with a scientific approach. 



The laboratory I-STEM declared that only 15% of the results obtained during the experiments is publishable. Research seems to mainly lead to “failure”… According to researchers, in failure lies the seed of success. This frustrating process is common to both scientific research and culinary practices.

What would happen if instead of displaying the perfect dessert, we rather displayed the “perfect disaster" - the perfect "messed up" dessert? In the kitchen, the chef uses the term of "the tart Tatin syndrome".


Instead of the conventional "pièce montée", made of cream puffs covered of caramel, in a conic and solid structure, this dessert lies in the dismantlement. Thus, it is displayed as a ''pièce démontée'', alike Peter Fischli & David Weiss’s film “The Way Things Go” with their chain reactions and their concerns about natural and organized scientific accidents.

Just as the ''drop culture'', which consists in developing skin cells inside a drop IN VITRO, this dismantled pyramid of cream puffs freezes caramel IN SITU, IN VIVO.

This dessert freezes "instantaneous catastrophes", pieces of embroidery with their fragile caramel filament, a real explosion of cream puffs challenging gravity.


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