I have been in Singapore this week to attend Maison & Objet Asia. Given the reputation of the Paris fair I had high expectations, in hindsight far too high. So, in all honesty it has been a bit of mixed week. There were certainly some highlights which I am excited to share with you in upcoming posts, but mainly my Singapore sojorn became an opportunity for some much needed solo time.
With all the busyness of my life I have become unaccustomed to being with myself and by that I don’t mean being alone, but existing without distractions. Raising a child, growing a business and the myriad of other domestic and social responsibilities are all things I love dearly, but my life is filled to the brim.
In Singapore staying in a conveniently located but soulless hotel was a constant reminder how vital interiors are to our mental health and happiness. Instead of checking-out I decided to seek my inspiration elsewhere and last night I took myself to Waku Ghin, Tetsuya Wakuda’s Singapore restaurant.
When this dish was presented to me it took my breath away. A combination of sea urchin, shrimp and caviar, it was possibly the most beautiful thing I had seen all week.
I vividly recall the first time I ate Tetsuya‘s food: the favours and combinations were unlike anything I had ever tasted. It was a transformative. My husband and I even bought his cookbook and prepared many of the recipes. Surprisingly, they were incredibly easy to make and depended on simplicity: the freshest of ingredients prepared with great care and delicacy.
Last night, I decided to set myself the challenge of enjoying a 10 course degustation menu without any distractions: no book or magazine, no iPhone, pen nor paper or company. Instead, I was to do nothing except the task at hand of eating. Sounds simple, but I had my doubts about my comfort doing this.
You see, like most of us, I have become a master at multi-tasking. I listen to podcasts while I drive, I unpack the dishwasher as my husband and I talk about our day, I brush my teeth and remove my make-up while my son is in the bath, I am on the phone while I prepare dinner, I am reading emails on my phone as I walk to work, lunch is eaten while I answer emails. It is efficient, or at least I kid myself it is. But is it a pleasurable or gratifying way of living?
What struck me last night was this. My sensory experience was heightened. I could tell you about the texture of certain dishes, the coolness of the marble counter, the finely textured paper of the wine list, the warm hue of the lights, the sound of sizzling olive oil, the concentration of the chef as he placed the lobster tails in the shiny copper pan and exactly how he gracefully cleaned the hot plate . . .
It made me reflect upon how much of my life I am not fully savouring, because I am distracted, because I am kidding myself that life is too busy to just to be doing one thing at a time.
Is this just me or is this a modern affliction?