Sotheby’s is pleased to announce a collaboration with chef Mory Sacko for the upcoming sale of Sculpture: Afrique, Océanie, Amériques. Mory Sacko is a young, bright and innovative talent who was discovered on France’s best known cooking show and who brings new ideas that are a breath of fresh air to traditional French cuisine. After heading up the pop-up restaurant on the terrace of Paris’ Palais de Tokyo this summer, Mory Sacko decided to open MoSuke: a restaurant inspired by his passion for both Japanese and African cultures. In bridging these two influences, his culinary creations promise to be nothing short of amazing. We sat down with him to talk about his passion for African art and culture and how it is reflected in his cuisine.
Among the pieces being offered in the sale, which one speaks to you the most, and why?
The work that speaks to me the most is "l’antilope” (the antelope) first of all because I find it to be very elegant; there is a remarkable level of detail with all the small carved lines – especially on the horns, those long slender horns. It's simply a piece that I find very beautiful.
These masks from Mali are replete with history; they are part of a culture where storytelling holds an important place. To what extent do you find yourself inspired or influenced by the stories and customs of the different cultures that can be found in your cuisine (French, Japanese, Malian)?
In terms of what I put on a plate, I am not directly influenced by that dimension of oral tradition and all these stories but more by their vibrations and the energy that one can feel when listening to and when in contact with these stories. I am sensitive to it and that is reflected in the decoration of the space, the dining room itself, the material I use and especially the dishes. In my restaurant, I wanted there to be a rather gentle energy. Whether in African or Japanese culture, there is this awareness of energy and spirits, and that is what I relate to.
What is your relationship to art and to certain works of art, have certain cultural and artistic references already inspired your cooking? If so, which ones?
This collaboration is very timely because I love early African art, whether masks or sculptures and not only those from Africa, this is also true for works from Oceania. I like the practical dimension of these works, which reveal a love of beautiful objects and beauty in everyday life. That idea is meaningful to me.
When it comes to my own cuisine, even if I seek a certain aesthetic, I am not directly influenced by art. Art feeds my spirit and energises me. Art helps me to recharge my batteries and replenish my creativity.
I nspired by the raw and sculptural quality of the African mask as well as the lightness of the object itself, Mory Sacko has created a dish that relies on ingredients native to the African continent, a Feuilles à Feuilles of beef, manioc and sweet potatoes. Slices of manioc and sweet potato that have been lacquered over coal and dehydrated slices of lightly seared beef and cream sauce of white and black voatsiperifery, and penja pepper from Madagascar and Africa.
The idea for this creation was inspired by the mask – raw and yet sculptural – hence the use of ingredients from Africa (with the exception of the beef), the same provenance as the mask. These ingredients are used in their most natural form while preserving the same impression of lightness that one feels when holding the mask.