“I was inspired to work with a perfume maker next, I love fragrances and think they are such a visceral sense provoker,” said Liebman, a Brooklyn-born chef and graduate of the French Culinary Institute. Since launching the special dinner series last November, she has held dinners inspired by a local illustrator and a font designer, in different settings around the city. “I have always been surrounded by artists and makers and thought that our processes were very similar. I loved seeing their workspaces, tools and processes (their "methods") and learned so much when asking them about their inspirations and ideas (their "madness").”
But how to translate scents such as “Maine,” with Somalian myrrh, seaweed and sage, or “Noble,” with jasmine, incense and musk, into edible form? Liebman says she didn't take the scents too literally as flavor profiles in the food. One of the challenges in creating the courses was making sure the courses didn't taste too much like perfume, and infusing these elements in the food without them tasting or smelling exactly like the scent. To that end, she made a confit of duck with jasmine flowers and smoked wheatberries for MCMC's “Noble” scent, and brought in seawater from Maine to serve with freshly shucked Spinney oysters for the “Maine” scent. In between each course and palate cleanser, diners were handed scent cards with fragrance notes and instructed to do cuppings to waft each one.
Liebman hopes her “Methods and Madness” dinner series will continue to focus on the unique craft and process of one local “maker” at a time, through a communal atmosphere centered around food. She is currently planning more dinners, and invites anyone to join her mailing list for announcements on them at her blog, cloggdancer.com. Thanks to the success of the fragrance dinner — the event was for 40 seats and sold out — Liebman looks forward to her next edible conquest. With MCMC Fragrances, her approach was to “let my mind wander, and try to capture the feeling of the scent.” In food form, that is.