An all-encompassing sensory experience, Higher Order takes you deep into another realm where the love of food is merely the entry point.
Transforming Hanover House in Southbank, BETA is a revolutionary testing area that explores the future of retail space, programming and new business models. Designed to give Melburnians a feel for what can be expected as part of Beulah’s transformative and visionary mini-metropolis, STH BNK By Beulah showcases their aim to go beyond traditional brick and mortar limits via events that reimagine the future, while redefining luxury for the next generation.
Rethinking the intersection between dining and art, restaurateur and chef Scott Pickett takes centre stage with Higher Order, an immersive dining first, combining futuristic design and theatrical performance. The culinary mastermind behind Longrain, Matilda, Estelle, Chancery Lane, Le Shoppe, Pastore and Pickett’s Deli, is treating Melburnians to a once-in-a-lifetime gastronomic adventure that merges scent, sound and taste in an unmissable multi-sensory dining experience.
Higher Order extends far beyond the commonplace and veers into the fantastical. Each 90-minute experience takes a deep dive into the creative approach to culture via digital interaction, illusionary lighting and theatrical ceremony. Scott Pickett collaborates with forward-thinking artists, performers and designers to enrapture the senses and explore the future of dining beyond the plate. He hopes it will encourage producers and suppliers to prioritise sustainability, while creating interesting yet affordable food for discerning diners.
“Dining is so much more than the food. For me, it’s about the environment, the design, and the feeling conjured through sense, taste and smell.”
Scott Pickett shares insight on his involvement in BETA By STH BNK, while looking towards the ever-evolving culinary landscape.
WHAT INSPIRED THE HIGHER ORDER CONCEPT?
What I love about the Higher Order project is its exploration of art, food and design, outside of normal day-to-day restaurants. It’s wonderful to see the cultural link, and how those key elements come together.
WHAT MAKES HIGHER ORDER A QUINTESSENTIAL MELBOURNE EXPERIENCE?
It’s about the exploration of that synergy, which is what Melbourne’s really all about, isn’t it? The arts, culture, our food and dining scene. Shaping that and doing something different—giving the guest an experience that they’ve never had before—is super exciting.
“Anyone in the creative world seeks to push boundaries, and the best way to do that, is to look back while moving forward.”
HOW DOES HIGHER ORDER REFLECT YOUR CULINARY APPROACH?
My food is not safe, yet not completely out there either. I like to take you slightly outside your comfort zone, and that’s exactly what we do with Higher Order. Food, like fashion, art and design, is constantly evolving. People always look for new ideas and experiences, but I think the future of dining is actually looking back at heritage and culture and forgotten techniques of the past, such as fermentation, preservation, and cooking using basic mediums.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE OF DINING LOOK LIKE TO YOU?
The constant evolution of food is what drives chefs. Anyone in the creative world seeks to push boundaries, and the best way to do that, is to look back while moving forward. What is the new thing? What have we forgotten? Is there something that we haven’t seen before? Higher Order represents an evolution of dining, art, design, and interactive mediums in the same way my restaurants do.
WHAT DID YOU SET OUT TO ACHIEVE WITH THIS PROJECT?
We’re always looking to push boundaries by looking at past colours, shapes and what it means to see or feel something. Higher Order is a collaboration between the food we create, the building design and everything that goes with it. I sat down and thought about how to link the food I cook now with the food I want to cook in future, alongside the interplay of art and design.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE EXPERIENCE?
I wanted it to have synergy. There’s a sense of arrival when you eat an oyster and think about how the shell is then recycled, or how you feel when walking into a dark space — it’s very emotive. The rooms in Higher Order are very much like that. There’s a feeling, it’s not just the smell or taste of the food itself, but, what do I feel in that moment? I feel like I’m by the seaside and then stumble upon a scallop, or if I’m standing in a steam room and then a steamed bun appears… The food at Higher Order is not delivered on a plate in a normal way.
TELL US MORE ABOUT THIS “CHOOSE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE” FORMAT OF DINING
We’ve broken down the Higher Order experience into rooms, different interplays, with multiple sensory experiences. For example, in the Tatami room we have an ancient Japanese tea ceremony, where you remove your shoes, sit down, and have a live performer who serves you and takes you on a journey. Another one is the convenience room. I thought, how can we actually do something modern and different? Instead of having your food on a plate or takeaway container, this is actually served from a vending machine. You have to work out how to get to the vending machine and take the beautiful little surprise that’s in a little warm screw-top container.
“There’s a feeling, it’s not just the smell or taste of the food itself, but, what do I feel in that moment?”
HOW DID SUSTAINABILITY COME INTO PLAY?
We looked at the future of sustainability. Again, whether it’s in food, design, building, in any sense of life, really. We have a beautiful mushroom cracker with green ants. Are we going to be eating more insects in the future? I think that we will, at some stage. We need to look past the cows, pigs and goats we usually eat. What will we be eating in 10, 20 or 30 years’ time? The green ants have a wonderful sour taste, and go perfectly with the avocado and mushroom. It’s our vegan dish with an insect. We also thought about how we nourish ourselves through food, feeling and emotion.
DO YOU HAVE A PERSONAL FAVOURITE DISH?
We have a beautiful soba noodle with rice noodles and salmon, our modern take on a poke bowl. That’s wonderful. It’s fresh, full of vegetables and nourishes the soul.
HOW DOES STH BNK BY BEULAH ENHANCE MELBOURNE’S GLOBAL APPEAL AND POTENTIAL?
To build a vision, not only for Higher Order with BETA by STH BNK, but for the building itself. This is going to be the world’s largest greenscape, it’s amazing. The design of the building will truly be a standout in Melbourne. As we look towards the way we live in big cities, it’s not just about your house or apartment, but how we dine, interact with people.
HOW IS BETA BY STH BNK REIMAGINING EXPERIENCES AS WE KNOW THEM?
What I love about what we have done with BETA by STH BNK is having a wonderful vision on change going forward. What evokes thought, memory, for me to look inside myself and consider what food, design and art is? This project transforms how digital and real life collide, with food, the space itself, the feeling and sense of place.
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