Vitalist Cuisine

(VC, estb. 2013


A semi-nomadic restaurant troop. We consider cooking to be a culinary implementation tactic and a type of discipline. The innate dynamism of our name casts the world (and food) as infinite degrees of consumption where everything dances, where everything eats and is eaten in turn. Our goal is to tune into this fact and create resonance. Our methodology, like that of any cook, begins with eating. In other words, we steal ripe ingredients (words, ideas, and tastes) ready to be consumed, broken down, and transformed. 

Even while chewing on these opening reflections, the cypher spins. By its nature, our website is a consistent extension of our work. A humble admonition: we cannot trace a path to understanding; we can only provide entry points so that clarity may strike. This is what all VC creations strive for.

Guided by our taste (similar to that of Franz Kafka's hunger artist), VC taps into dietary tracts producing a variety of dining experiences. Our other modes of production include writing, drawing, sculpting, and designing. The difference between these modes and cooking is only one of form. Indeed, sometimes a word is a carrot too: it is sensational, nourishing, delicate, or perhaps just simple. In this respect, we also learn from the falling branch, the crease of a napkin, veins of a daikon, the writer's comma... 

We always consider the triad: concept - technique - substance. Hence, three expressions with differing trajectories are set in motion: meals (based on a concept, an external constraint), maneuvers (based on a culinary technique, a kinetic constraint), and dispensations (based on an ingredient, an internal constraint).

Meals are a tactful measure, a moment, an event. The special ritual of coming together to eat is one of the building-blocks of humanity. Since this ritual's basic activity is to grind (we grind our meal and flour, we grind our teeth, digestion grinds), VC harnesses this quality while constructing the event: our meals grind a single concept into multiple dimensions, presented as constructed dishes. They are a search for "absolute" consistency in the triad, starting from a singular concept and casting its kaleidoscopic vision. Meals are our largest undertakings: equally important consideration is given to location, light, sound, and general “air” of the space. The consistency sought after in cooking thus extends into atmospheric dimensions. Guests are chosen on the basis of a specified gift-exchange.

Maneuvers always start with a technique of the kitchen. For example: basting, trussing, whisking, or sweeping. They engage bodily or conceptual movement. They are a call to cultivate the earth differently. As for example, thinking through manure, or compost-mind like that of John Cage. These movements (through the city, sea, carcass, foliage, sounds, pages) are veritable tactics of implementation; that is to say, a population of new bodies (impleo) in new orders (tassein) via conceptual seeds. And so a simple gesture is stolen from the arsenal of the cook, applied in a foreign domain (outside the kitchen), and developed into a general disposition. Sweeping, then, is not a simple chore anymore but a form of movement: becoming-swept as a particular "throwness", an energetic tumbling through the pantry list. 

Dispensations are, according to the standard definition, exemptions from usual rules and requirements. Here we start with a specific ingredient which extends into a series of small dishes. The chosen ingredient is repeated with radical difference in each dish. Through immanent connections of chemistry, flavor, texture, etc., these dishes seek consistency within themselves. Dispensations enable askesis and experimentation, opportunities to explore a humble ingredient technically and conceptually. They can be ordered on demand as a form of catering. Here we dispense (supply) and are dispensed (given) in the process, providing opportunity for others to access and assess (weigh) our taste.

Conspired, cooked-up, unfolded by Joshua McCarty & Dejan Lukic. For the envisioning and construction of meals, maneuvers, or dispensations, contact us at For forthcoming events, see Impending.