Sure, you’ve Instagrammed or tweeted about that great ice cream you tried, throwing in a handful of emoji. But what if you could actually eat from a menu of emoji? Tonight diners will be able to do just that at a one-night-only feast that renowned Indian chef Gaggan Anand is throwing to benefit Chefs for Change, a nonprofit assisting small farmers in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. Eight Tables—the private dining venue inside China Live—is playing host, and there Anand will create a 15-course sampling from his smash-hit emoji menu for $550 a pop. The full menu, served at his Bangkok, Thailand, restaurant Gaggan, is wordless and consists of a rotation of emoji, from the explosion symbol to a black moon to a strawberry to a wedge of cheese.
Anand declined to tip his hand (or maybe his gold-rimmed top hat?) and tell San Francisco precisely which emoji he’s serving. But Eight Tables Chef George Chen, for one, is excited to see what Anand whips up. “Chefs like to see what other chefs are doing, so to have him up close in my kitchen will be a good learning experience for us at Eight Tables,” he says.
Plus, the cause is even better than any chicken leg or polka-dotted mushroom could taste. Anand, along with chefs Eneko Atxa and Joan Roca, started the nonprofit Chefs for a Change in 2016 (in partnership with Farm Africa and TechnoServe) to help small farmers in developing countries get sustainable farming projects off the ground, reduce food waste, and boost their business acumen. “There are millions of people that are in need of basic sustenance, and helping them farm and to not have food waste and to help them understand agriculture and food process is very important,” Chen says.
The pop-up is sold out, but Chen hopes this will be the beginning of future collaborations with Anand, meaning your chance to eat a red kiss-lips emoji made from yuzu jelly and litchi may yet come.- San Francisco Magazine (09.13.18)