Miss. Delicious #89 : The "Internet Celebrity Bar" Yellow Lemon!
Dear Steemit Friends :
Internet Celebrity Dessert Bars?
a new kind of "celebrity" class has arisen thanks to the proliferation and accessibility of the internet.
In the past decade or so, the internet has penetrated the daily lives of pretty much everyone. Regardless of age, race or social class, the proliferation of mobile phones with internet connections has given the world unprecedented access to the wealth of (mostly) free information on the internet, and also allowed us to use our phones as an extension of ourselves and our knowledge. We can now direct our attention to things happening somewhere else in the world, without having to retreat home to our computers or TV.
Along with the explosion of the internet, a new kind of "celebrity" class has arisen thanks to the proliferation and accessibility of the internet. As more people pay more and more attention to content on the internet, these celebrities have started competing with "real" celebrities for attention and often wield comparable influence over the new age internet generation. In trying to keep up with the evolution of where all the attention is going, the traditional celebrities have embraced social media in order to stay relevant.
Curiously, a new kind of "celebrity" has popped up in the wake of this transfer of influence, they are are known in China and much of Asia as "internet celebrity" restaurants / coffee shops / dessert shops. Suddenly, internet celebrities need not be people anymore, they can be business entities or interesting places. As long as it attracts the attention of a lot of people on the internet, it can be classed as an "internet celebrity" venue.
"Internet celebrity people" are mostly driven by the need to share the weird and wonderful to their followers.
It is no surprise that these places offer quirky social media worthy photo opportunities. In-fact, the internet celebrity venues encourage sharing pictures on social media and often give some freebies as incentives. The fact that these venues have out of the ordinary goods and services combined with unique photo opportunities, mean that they naturally attract "internet celebrity people" who are mostly driven by the need to share the weird and wonderful to their followers.
Social media suddenly becomes a highly effective medium by which information can quickly propagate. A positive feedback loop can be created if highly influential people with lots of followers share these interesting experiences, in doing so, they attract more customers to the venue. The "influencers" are literally influencing a bunch of their followers to visit. They get a bunch of likes which is effectively a reaffirmation of their influencer status and the venue gets free advertising and probably a boost in business. Quite a sweet deal!
Miss. Delicious visits Yellow Lemon!
So, now that we have a little bit of background knowledge on what these "internet celebrity" dessert shops are, and how they tick, let's go ahead and visit one and see for ourselves what they're actually like. My dismay is that most places recognise Instagram or Youtubers with a lot of followers but few if any recognise Steemit (for now). They'll see the light eventually i'm sure!
The venue of choice is : Yellow Lemon. What attracted me to this particular dessert bar is their unique dessert offerings, in particular, their Picnic Garden Afternoon Tea set menu. This along side their swirling galaxy dessert are their flagship dessert offerings, each with a unique aesthetic not offered anywhere else. Picnic's are becoming a popular activity in Taipei, and the head chef thought, why not bring it to the table in a food-meets-modern art bonanza. In an ultra competitive food service industry, this novel idea sets the bar apart from it's competition.
Located in Daizhi of the ZhongShan District, Yellow Lemon is a humble little dessert bar tucked away within the residential neighbourhood streets of the area. From the outside, the bar looks quite conservative. It doesn't have flamboyant branding, nor does it have big logos advertising themselves. Instead, the bar has a grass headliner circling around the shop, and a minimalist logo that you wouldn't notice without staring at it for a while. Clearly, the place leverages social media to bring custom because it's located nowhere near places with high foot traffic.
Let's go inside and take a look!
The first thing you see is the bakery which has lots of pre-prepared desserts available for takeout. The open kitchen is a very attractive feature because it allows you to watch the chefs at work as they diligently prepare your food.
Let's take a look what's for sale at the bakery.
Picnic Baskets. I have a little secret : I've never actually had a picnic before! These picnic baskets remind me of Little Red Riding Hood and her picnic basket. As a person who's never had a picnic before, you can imagine how anxious and excited I was.
There's more to it than meet's the eye
Yellow Lemon was founded in 2014 by a Sicilian chef named Andrea Bonaffini. I was lucky to have the opportunity to meet him in person as he prepares all of the main desserts himself. I wondered what his background might be given his unique take on food and it turns out he is a master dessert chef that has worked at some of the most prestigious Michelin restaurants in the world. Adding to his already impressive resume, he's also won the Italian dessert championship too.
According to Andrea, his goal is to "Surprise his guests and friends on a sensory level through his creative cuisines."
He does this through what he calls "Yellow-Art", a combination of food and art where the kitchen table, (or the guests table) becomes his canvas. He'll use as many natural ingredients as possible to maintain consistency with the garden picnic theme.
His creations verge on abstract art. His favourite artists and inspirations being Jackson Pollock, Damien Hirst and Margaret Olley.
Below, you can see his bookshelf with all his books on cooking, gastronomy and dessert making. Perhaps there is no surprise that there are several contemporary art and design books in there too. Taking a look around the interior of Yellow Lemon, you quickly see that it's decoration and design are inspired by his personal tastes in contemporary art.
He says: "The interior design is my creation, filled with my favourite yellow colour."
Hanging on one of the walls, is a painting of a Lemon Head by Leah Saulnier. It is actually a homage paying respect to the late Margaret Olley who painted the man with an apple infront of his face. When asked about why she painted him that way, Margaret said : "Underneath what we see in-front of our eyes, there is always something else. What we see in plain site is often the least interesting to us, rather, we are more interested in things we cannot see." This is one of the sources of inspiration for his works and the Lemon Head painting serves as his reminder.
When I first saw this black board splatter on the ceiling, I wasn't sure of it's significance. It was only later on when I realised it formed the basis of his style of work in his cooking art.
Once you're settled and ready, Andrea comes over and begins the picnic. First things first, the green turf is laid out on the table and will work as the base. Then, various non-edible decorations are brought out to garnish for effect, pinecones, stones, fruits, vegetables and even watering jugs. The idea make the experience feel like a picnic in the garden and so these are the things you might find scattered on the grass.
After the objects are laid out, the food is brought over in the picnic basket and then laid out carefully on the table in a meticulously designed manner.
There is a mixture of sweet and savoury foods. Watching Andrea work is like watching an artist in action. As each dish comes out, he places it in a very specific spot and in a specific way. This is all part of his artistic side which results in my stomach galvanizing into action.
My favourite was the Black Pepper Macaron King Crab with lemon mustard and Salmon Caviar.
Incidentally, there was also a little tin of imitation caviar made from black chocolate pellets which was also very sweet.
Who says you can't eat off the table?
According to Andrea, the table is his canvas, and the ingredients are his painting pigments. In this next dessert, Andrea showcases his splatter technique using a variety of sauces ranging from mango to strawberry, pistachio, and vanilla. Next, he uses a mixture of sorbet ice cream, cakes, chocolate, fruits and macarons to create the final dessert. It is a mash up of pretty much every sweet item in the entire bar. After it's all layered on top of each other, he adds the liquid nitrogen for visual effect, but also to freeze some of the chocolate and sauces below.
To say the experience was titillating would be an understatement, the explosion of tastes in your mouth after eating this creation leave you whisking your tongue around for hours afterwards, wondering what sensory bombardment you just experienced. That's not even taking into account the visual splendour of it all.
I simply sat there in awe and didn't even want to touch it.
Andrea explained that this dish is called the Galaxy dessert because this is his artistic expression of how he sees galaxies and the planetary bodies within it. I thought it was a nice touch with the chocolate robot in the centre, perhaps he is hinting at something?
After a very sweet visit to Yellow Lemon, it was time to burn off calories with some exploring. The nearest point of interest is the Miramar complex, a shopping centre with a very large iconic Ferris wheel on the top floor. This along with Taipei 101 has frequently been used in movies and is actually a very popular spot for taking photographs both of the Ferris wheel itself, and also of the view of Taipei from the Ferris Wheel.
Cool water droplets are released to keep people cool in the hot summer weather.
This is the Ferris wheel. I'm not sure how big it is compared to the London Eye, but it's certainly an eye catching landmark.
I decided to wait until the sky was dark before going on the Ferris Wheel. Nighttime scenery is always the best.
Finally on the Ferris wheel after waiting a few hours for the skies to darken. By now, all the city lights are turned on, and I can begin spying on the people and buildings below.
Taipei is quite unique in that it has very few skyscrapers despite being a modern capital city. The two distinct ones stick out like a sore thumb.
Check out my video of Yellow Lemon!
And that wraps up our detailed review of Yellow Lemon, an example of a new class of internet celebrities who are not people, but instead, famous establishments which also attract internet celebrity people. Referring to an establishment as an internet celebrity actually comes from a literal translation of what Chinese people call these types of establishments.
As social media continues to consume more aspects of our lives, the importance of leveraging social media as a business becomes paramount to their success. Yellow Lemon have done an outstanding job of utilising a unique value proposition to attract a large following on social media. In a space cluttered with all sorts of dessert offerings, Yellow Lemon stand's out as an innovator and is worth a visit if just to witness food-art being created live.
接下里主厨在我的桌上铺了一层绿油油的草皮，春心荡漾，仿佛立刻把我带人了野餐的情景当中。主厨Andrea Bonaffini友好的问候，并开始了他充满无限构思与遐想的野餐布阵。把准备甜品和排盘过程搬到桌面上，我还是第一次看到，并且不再是摆盘，因为整个桌面都是盘子。接下来各色咸食甜食就像走fashion show一样依次到场，手机相机根本停不下来，有的色彩鲜艳，有的造型小巧精致，很像玩具，这样的场景，想必会勾起每个人性格里童心未泯的那一面。我就像只充满好奇心的小猫，眼睛完全停不下来。美味齐上阵之后，主厨细心的用鲜花松果和糖果做成的假花进行点缀，最后借助液态氩制造出烟雾迷蒙的效果，让我脑海中瞬间闪过童话故事里小红帽拿着野餐篮在森林里散步的画面。待烟雾散去，甜点集会的草原出现在眼前，一切都是那么生机勃勃，真是太治愈系了。主厨挥洒完创意，还耐心的给我介绍每一种小点心，非常体贴。其中我最喜欢的是这黑色的Ricotta烟熏鲑鱼马卡龙，还有鱼子酱巧克力，把这些让我意料之外的甜咸事物拼凑在一起，真是让我大开眼界。