War and Peace

Installation / Event
 Petroff Palace
Orator Club
Russia, 2023
Images: Ernest Yakovlev

Gastronomic installation in three parts: Palace, War, Peace
The gastronomic installation was created as part of the annual Orator's Club ball at the Petrovsky Way Palace, built in neo-Gothic style in the 18th century. The theme of the evening was the title of Leo Tolstoy's novel War and Peace, which describes the events of the Russian-French War of 1812.



    The table is ten meters long, covered with a white tablecloth, a black power cable VVGng runs through it. Bending and sprawling, it creates a graphic pattern, intertwining with the shadow it casts, with the straw braid of the melon and the dishes on the tables. It not only binds the treats on the table into a single pattern, but also creates a mood of energizing in the hall, where the guests who came to the ball gather. The traditional and technological aspects are combined through a powerful lighting system installed in the hall especially for this event, as well as busts of the reigning monarchs of the Russian Empire. The dishes are structurally arranged on the table with plenty of space. French delicacy pâté croute pies made with duck, foie gras and champagne neighbor Russian pastries. Terrine of veal and apricots soaked in cognac lies next to a metal platter, in the center of which nerka caviar is surrounded by lace pancakes with poppy seeds. On chrome trays, artichokes, anchovies, capers and pearl onions are served in puddles of olive oil. Covered with branches of basil rests a juicy melon. These dishes are meant to provide a stimulus of exploration and intrigue for the evening.

    After the welcoming part, the table is cleared of food. Toward the end of the evening, dozens of loaves of fresh Borodino bread are laid out, tied with white ribbons, which are a symbol of peace on the one hand and of protest on the other. The bread is offered to the guests as a parting gift, and is wrapped in matte parchment and black scotch tape, which make the loaf look like explosives. This encourages guests to think about the easy and inevitable shift of reality from peace to war.


    The installation conventionally draws from the literary image of the battlefield of the early 19th century, but leaves the food visually appealing: you want to taste it. The set is based on images of the Battle of Borodino, the largest single-day battle in the 19th century in terms of casualties, as well as the realities of contemporary military conflicts. The hall of the palace, where the installation is located, is illuminated with red diode light, in its center there is a 5-meter long table covered with black vinyl film, with "earth" from Borodino bread poured on top. The installation required two hundred loaves to be dried and ground.

    Ammunition boxes lined with snow-white gauze are built into this composition. They unambiguously indicate the militaristic nature of the entire installation: a storage facility for ammunition and medical supplies abandoned on the battlefield. Their chaotic arrangement in relation to each other and the plane emphasizes the disorder of war.

    The food visually and at the level of meanings refers to the theme of wounded flesh, earth, soot, and coal. Foods of black and red hues are chosen, exploring an aesthetic blend of French and Russian cuisine. Through the use of microgreens and haulms, the idea of possible regeneration and restoration is laid bare.

    Set: Black vinyl film, borodinsky bread, cartridge boxes


    The guest table is inspired by the atmosphere of balls and baroque etiquette of aristocratic receptions of the 19th century. Serving, decorations, floristics of that time choose white, beige and aged silver as the main colors. Dishes, hors d'oeuvres stand on etageries, stands - different height, architectural lay-out. The arrangement of tables is a square shape of 2.5 x 2.5 meters, visually building a panorama of the world in all its volume and diversity. The table is draped with white tablecloths, the floors of which fall freely to the floor. The set utilizes damaged works by sculptor Nadezhda Likhogrud, who in her work addresses the theme of memories and nostalgia, as well as contemporary political and social problem areas. The work "Dove" with a chip in the chest area was selected for the installation - being a symbol of peace, the sculpture unambiguously points to its fragility and shakiness.

    The dishes for the installation "Peace" were created together with the Moscow confectioner Valery Lindström. Dainties of matte white color, beige shades, as well as champagne jelly with silver leaf coating were chosen. Semi-soft dessert cheeses with a scattering of food charcoal were served with bitter buckwheat honey. Seasonal fruits were used in the table decoration: pears, feijoa, persimmon.

    Set: white tablecloth, black velvet ribbons, floral arrangements, ceramic figurines, silver candle holders

    Menu Palace

    Paté croute with duck, veal and champagne
    Paté croute with pork, prunes and Cointreau liqueur.
    Paté croute with turkey, foie gras, pistachio and cognac
    Turkey terrine with apricots
    Terrine with Espelette pepper
    Pie with chicken, mushrooms and spinach
    Pie with cabbage
    Uzbek melon, green basil
    Capers, anchovy, pearl onions, grilled artichokes
    Pancakes with poppy seed / ricotta / sour cream / seabream caviar
    Red currant, pomegranate, pear

    Menu War

    Salad: frisée, romano, radicchio, balsamic cream.
    Salmon, beets, lingonberries, horseradish, dill, brandy
    Goat cheese with black lemon Basiron
    Honeycomb, activated charcoal
    Radish, haulm, butter
    Charcoal-grilled peppers
    Prosciutto crudo
    Meat chips
    Jamon iberica
    Brioche, bearded bread

    Menu Peace

    Napoleon cake with white begonia flowers
    Champagne jelly with silver leaf
    Lemon tart
    Cardamom cupcake
    Tartlet with blueberry confit and buttercream
    Fruit: pears, feijoa, persimmon