Gingerline: London’s Best-Kept Secret

Gingerline: London’s Best-Kept Secret

We caught up with Suz Mountfort to hear about the world behind immersive dining with its secret oaths and inspiration that could pop up where you least expect.

people haven’t heard of Gingerline, the clandestine culinary affair speeding
around the East London Overground. That
said, few can actually tell you what goes on at one of these
events. Sworn to secrecy, Gingerlovers past have been transported
from the Siberian circus to submarine mess halls – all between
Crystal Palace and Canonbury. It’s Secret Cinema meets Heston; a
fusion of performance, art, design and gastronomy that transcends
not only the table but this very dimension.

Suz Mountfort co-founded the dissident diner with partner Kerry
Adamson in 2010 and has since seen it go, well, off the rails,
spawning the multi-dimensional Chambers of Flavour and, this year,
the Institute of Flavourology.

She let us in on the world behind immersive dining with its
secret oaths and inspiration that could pop up where you least

Briefly sum up Gingerline for us.

Gingerline is made up of a bunch of food and drink enthusiasts
whose goal is to create the ultimate dining experience. We run
temporary projects along the the East London Branch of the
Overground, taking only the most intrepid diners on an
out-of-this-world journey that combines performance, design, music
and the finest of foods.

Where did you get the idea for Gingerline?

My partner, Kerry Adamson, and I both love food, art and unusual
experiences. So we decided to combine these passions into a super
supper club. We roped in a bunch of creative folk and as the
project developed and we grew more confident, the ideas became ever
more challenging. The possibilities are endless. We brought in
creative mediums such as sound installation, lighting, narrative
and performance and somewhere through all this, we invented the
concept now popularly known as ‘immersive dining’ – and that forms
the basis of Gingerline today.

What was your background / what were you doing before

I don’t come from an arts background, I worked in an office
doing corporate relationship management (which was slowly devouring
my sanity). I was always somewhat intimidated by so called creative
endeavours because there is a such a mystique around it. Gingerline
started not as a business idea, but a bid for sanity and life
satisfaction. It just turned out better than we could have ever
hoped for.

Where do you get your inspiration for each event?

From anything and everything really. The varied food scene in
London offers lots of inspiration, though it’s often more mundane
things that will prompt an idea. I could be wandering around the
supermarket and an idea for a deep sea made of blue balls could
randomly pop into my head. I sometimes get told off for not
concentrating on things fully, but I’m always thinking about what
we can do next.

What is the weirdest / whackiest thing you’ve ever done at

I think attempting to create the inside of a Crash Test Dummy’s
mind, was probably an ambitious idea. Ha! We created a section
within our Chambers of Flavour V1 which was built from random car
parts, mirrors and an engine suspended from the ceiling. The
concept was that the dummy was lonely and daydreamed of creating
dinner parties for humans. We therefore built the engine so it
dispensed oily ramen soup, which a mime dummy served to all the
guests. I think we weirded a few people out with that one. Fun

And your favourite?

That’s a tough one because each experience is unique. However,
my favourite has to be our Chambers of Flavour projects. It was
something I had on my mind for a long time before it became a
reality and now it is totally disrupting the way people dine out in
London. The idea is to make the food experience both immersive and
active; a dining experience that is no longer static. Guests have
to actively participate and physically pass through different
realities between courses. It’s an exciting project.

Why do you think immersive experiences have become such a big
thing in London?

I think our daily lives can become so regimented and devoid of
spontaneity. However, we’re all children at heart; we seek out
opportunities to relive the fun of our childhood. The ordinary is
no longer enough. Adventurous individuals want and expect more from
their nights out. This is where immersive experiences can fill the
void. They offer adventure, risk and surprise. In the Gingerline’s
case, this means turning a meal out into a theatrical experience
which challenges every single one of the diner’s senses.

A lot of production goes into each event. Has anything ever
gone disastrously wrong on the night?

Plenty of times! Though that is the nature of a pop-up I guess.
We’ve had burnt main courses, ovens not working, actor illnesses
and bar staff having to fill in. Trains are also a challenge
because if the Overground isn’t working, or trains are delayed, we
run the risk of having no guests. It’s these challenges which make
the experience!

How do you ensure the total secrecy which surrounds each

Loose lips sink ships as we like to say. We don’t reveal
anything about our concepts, our location or our menu before the
event to ensure nothing about the project is let slip. Our guests
buy tickets without knowing where they are going, what they will be
doing, who they will encounter or what they will eat. The location
is only revealed only an hour or so before. As such we tend to get
a certain type of person coming along to our events – very
open-minded, incredibly trusting and fiercely loyal. Everyone
swears an oath of secrecy and cameras / phones are switched off. In
all the years of running Gingerline we’ve only had a handful of
shares on social media which speaks volumes about our Gingerlovers.
They enjoy being a part of this secret and don’t want to ruin it
for others. In return for this, we make sure they have a hell’uva
night out!

Would Gingerline ever go abroad?

Never say never…. We’re working on a few things at the

Do you know of any similar concepts operating in other

There are a few theatre plus dinner concepts…

What’s next for Gingerline?

Next up is the launch of our private events brand, Institute of
Flavourology, which is taking bookings now for early 2017. Over the
years we’ve had many requests for Gingerline to cater and create
unforgettable experiences at birthdays, weddings, corporate events.
When we hired our incredibly talented head chef, Alejandro
Rodriguez, earlier this year we realised we could start to fulfil
these opportunities and sprinkle a little ginger magic beyond
London. We’ve also recently awoken our mighty Machine, with
Chambers of Flavour v2 running now until early 2017. We’re sold out
until middle of January, however we will be releasing a new batch
of tickets at midday today… [Ed: you heard it here first!]

And how can we ensure we nab a ticket to your next event?

Be very quick off the mark! Sign up to our mailing list on the
website, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and watch out for our not so subtle clues
about potential ticket releases. Then it’s about how fast you can
click ‘book’ when the ticket booth opens…

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