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A Look Inside Olafur Eliasson's 368-Page Vegetarian Cookbook

We spoke to the installation artist about cooking for 90 people at once, and got an exclusive look at his favorite recipe from the 368-page tome.

by Andrew Nunes
Jun 2 2016, 4:25pm

Bifun Rice Noodle Salad with Peanut Sauce. Image courtesy of Studio Olafur Eliasson.

 

@studioolafureliasson: The Kitchen is out today! Order your copy of the book now at phaidon.com/thekitchen

A photo posted by Phaidon (@phaidonsnaps) on


Ambitious art installations require large, hard-working teams, and these giant studios need lots of nutrient-rich food to keep working for hours on end. Studio Olafur Eliasson, the Berlin base of one of the most prolific living installation artists, has to feed around 90 people daily. In their recently released cookbook with Phaidon, containing over 100 vegetarian recipes cooked for the team, you can learn how they do it.

Dishes like Tuscan Kale Risotto, Turkish Kisir Salad, and Winter White Root Soup fill up the 368 pages of Studio Olafur Eliasson: The Kitchen. Eliasson's favorite is the Bifun Rice Noodle Salad with Peanut Sauce, a light dish that can be made for a huge group in under an hour. Each recipe is separated into two versions: one that serves a group of six and another that serves up to 60, both a nod to the conditions these recipes were originally prepared in, and a practical solution should you ever find yourself cooking for a crowd. 

The cookbook is the result of a daily lunch practice that began at the studio 13 years ago, when the team was only 15 people. Although today the studio’s menu is entirely vegetarian and is prepared by a series of visiting chefs, this wasn’t always the case. “The kitchen began with us all taking turns cooking, which wasn’t always vegetarian,” Eliasson explains to The Creators Project. “When Asako Iwama and Lauren Maurer joined the studio as our cooks, we went vegetarian largely for pragmatic reasons. We wanted to use all organic ingredients, and it’s also better for the planet not to eat so much meat.”
 


The daily lunch practice at Studio Olafur Eliasson is a unique phenomenon for an artist's studio, especially one of such size. This is in part due to the value Eliasson places on the creative possibilities permitted by food: “Sitting together to eat, we naturally share ideas and inspire one another. When everyone is sitting at their own desk, in their own department, there’s no real occasion for them to meet and exchange,” he explains. “So our communal lunches allow us to learn what others are doing, and they are also an opportunity to form friendships and develop sympathy and understanding of one another.” Check out the recipe from his favorite dish below:

Bifun Rice Noodle Salad with Peanut Sauce Recipe. 
Image courtesy of Studio Olafur Eliasson.

For more vegetarian recipes meant to serve small-to-large groups, buy a copy of Studio Olafur Eliasson: The Kitchen on Phaidon’s website. Click here to keep up with their meals on Instagram, and to learn more about other creative endeavors taken on by the studio, click here

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