Yes, technology has taken over the world, and the food industry hasn’t been left behind either. While fine dining and artistic plating is grear, there are other ways to immerse patrons in a dining experience.
Recently, Shangri La hosted an immersive culinary experience with Le Petit Chef where the world’s smallest chef cooks your food right onto your plate through the use of 3D projection mapping technology. After having travelled the world, it has now made its way to the national capital at Shangri La, New Delhi from June 3.
And if I were to describe it, it’s almost like Ratatouille coming to life with a twist, being that the trained chef isn’t a rat but rather an animated French chef. The interactive 3D dining experience with Le Petit Chef takes you on a dining journey.
“I am delighted to welcome Le Petit Chef to Delhi where we have such a rich culinary heritage. Following the sold-out success in Singapore, Germany, Dubai, and Rome the entertainment dining show of Le Petit Chef will be playing for the first time in Delhi! Diners will get to know the Chef intimately as he cooks right on your plate. The opening is a great innovation for us, and we are happy to be able to entertain guests with an unforgettable theatre and gourmet experience together with the team,” said Abhishek Sadhoo, General Manager, Shangri-La Eros New Delhi. He also mentioned that it took the team about 6-8 months to execute the process.
About Le Petit Chef
Le Petit Chef was born in April 2015 in Marseille, France. By using profound artistic knowledge, and combining it with the latest technology, the art directors of Skullmapping tell stories with stunning bespoke visuals. The concept, which uses 3D mapping, was developed in Belgium and made its way around the globe — Singapore, Indonesia, and Hong Kong, among others.This cinema on a Plate made its first appearance in India in December 2019, at Celini at the Grand Hyatt Mumbai but unfortunately could not continue in light of the pandemic.
Le Petit Chef is an immersive, interactive and animated, theatre and dining experience where the chef, named Le Petit, is a 6 cm tall animated French chef. He’s projected onto your table, along with an environment that corresponds to each course. Using 3D technology Chef Le Petit creates each course in a new place through animation. It could be a summer garden or the deep sea while keeping you entertained with his charming personality and delectable French dishes. The chef prepares a 5-course meal right before your eyes. This culinary adventure provides whimsical, engaging animation that blends with enticing dishes, showcasing the story behind each course in a unique presentation that amazes and delights. Guests are invited to journey through a gastronomic adventure during an extraordinary one-and-a-half-hour dining experience that brings the best 3D mapping experience and creative cuisine to the table with an element of surprise.
The show is paired with themed music, props and an exquisite menu. Orchestrated with live hosts, impeccable audio and cute animations, the Le Petit Chef dining experience offers a classic European cuisine menu with vegetarian and non-vegetarian options. It offers signature preparations such as Truffle Burrata, Seafood Bisque, Prosecco-infused Lobster Thermidor, Spring Chicken Roulade, Lasagne Primavera, Crème Brulé, Chocolate Pot De Crème and more. Taking the idea further, the concept revolves around community dining. There are a total of 32 seats per show, eight tables of four each, and you might find yourself stepping out with a few new friends you shared your table with during the meal.
The idea of immersive dining with 3D mapping already had me drawn in, and reaching on time to enjoy the show was imperative. But the hesitation to know who my fellow diners were was making me a tad uncomfortable, however, the hosts ensured the ice was broken before we started the dining experience.
To kickstart the Le Petit Chef experience at Shangri-La, we were taken to a secluded room with all our fellow diners to interact over a glass of bubbly. The Shangri-La team and Le Petit Chef’s marketing manager gave us a warm welcome and brief about the show, while most of it was left for us to witness. Soon enough we were taken to another room that was dark with eight tables of four laid out. Each table came with its own projector and butler who served us through the meal. The linen and plates were both white to best reflect the projection. Our session was hosted by Balraj from the Le Petit Chef team and he guided us step by step into each course.
As the lights were dimmed, the show opened with an introductory projection of the 6cm tall Le Petit Chef on our plates accompanied by an impeccable surround sound system to truly ensure we are immersed in the experience. From a tropical island to a deep sea, and the chef’s garden, you can experience it all on your table. You can expect a five-course meal in vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, served to you over a one-and-a-half-hour immersive experience. The Le Petit chef’s explorations precede each course to source ingredients and are woven with fun visuals and beautiful locales, which entertain you sufficiently. After the animation the host has an interactive chat and servers from Shangri La’s restaurant bring out dishes, which almost exactly resembled what Le Petit Chef just made. Expect theatrics, cinema, animation and a whole lot of fun.
Before beginning the first course, we learnt a few French terms, interacted with others at our table and raised a glass to the course – this tradition carried on before each course. The first course started out with a projection of Le Petit Chef in his garden creating a burrata salad while overcoming obstacles that came his way. The projection covered the entire table and the chef worked on each diner’s plate individually. After a two-minute-long projection, the host explained the animation and we were served with the Truffle Burrata salad with cloches. On the count of three, each of the table cloches were lifted in symphony to unveil the dish. The salad came with Farm fresh rocket lettuce, red & orange cherry on the vine, a generous quantity of burrata and balsamic glaze, which closely replicated the creation of the chef. The key to savouring the experience was to enjoy it slowly.
Moving onto course two, Le Petit Chef made his way to the sea to serve up a Seafood Bisque with wild-caught scallops, scampi, sea bass and garlic crostini. For vegetarians, there was the Classic Minestrone Soup with Puy Lentil and Homemade Rigatoni Pasta. The broth was flavorful and divine and accompanied by a beautiful-looking garlic crostini adding some crunch.
To cook course 3 the Spring Chicken Roulade, the chef was busy in the forest collecting fresh produce while a chicken was placed on the rotisserie. A whimsical and dreamy representation of the forest with wild mushrooms and a lush green landscape, the animation shows how individuals get caught up in tasks only to forget what’s cooking. To recreate the vibe of the forest on our table, a centrepiece of leaves and mushrooms was placed, and a server then added dry ice to create a theatrical effect.
Our host Balraj also kept changing his t-shirts throughout the show to make it more immersive and fun. Throughout the course, the projection of the forest stayed on our table transporting us to a natural world. The vegetarian option was the Lasagne Primavera layered with fresh vegetables, basil, Parmesan sauce and Pomodoro. Both dishes looked like artistic masterpieces. The Chicken roulade was presented on a black dish with a perfected cooked chicken and white sauce on the side; the Lasagne was camouflaged under rocket leaves and each bite was a flavourful indulgence – this was indeed the best vegetarian course for me. The highlight, for both vegetarian and non-vegetarians, was the presence of black truffle pate on the palate – and a generous amount. Yes, if you wish to make it fancier with gold plating for an anniversary, the team can do that as well!
We then moved on to the meaty course four following Le Petit Chef to the deep sea. Here he caught a lobster from the sea. The Prosecco Infused Lobster Thermidor with glazed sweet onion, beluga caviar and mushroom was the most exotic and delicious dish on the menu for non-vegetarians. To serve the dish the waiters wore lobster caps adding a little more drama and waiters came with a blow torch to flambe the majestically presented lobster live. While the vegetarian dish didn’t promise so much drama the Baked Ricotta and Spinach in Marinara with Black truffle pate was crunchy on the outside and creamy on the inside and packed with flavour.
Finally, we moved on to the best course (at least for me and my fellow diners) – DESSERT! Yes, the animation was by far the best for the last course. Le Petit Chef was cooking up a Creme Brulee using ingredients from all over the world. From Indian Saffron to ingredients from Arabia to add flavour to the milk, the animation ended with the perfect golden brown brulee. And for a cinematic experience, each table was served the dessert with a tissue-like cover without unveiling what was inside. This was the same for the Crème Brulee served with almond biscotti, fresh blueberry and strawberry as well as the vegetarian Chocolate Pot de Creme. On the count of three the serves lit the edible covering on fire to flambee the dessert. The best was that there was no ash, and the 3-second fire illuminated each table giving us an insight into the beautiful dessert. The brulee had the perfect crack sound and it was creamy with the perfect texture. But what was delightful was the dehydrated strawberry and blueberry – just divine! The outro was all about celebrating the creations of the tiny chef with a few fireworks because it surely was an experience like no other.