Custom Food Lab is an artist-led food project and restaurant on the Harbour Arm in Folkestone, focused around a practice we call “EAT ART BARTER".
At the heart of things, we are a restaurant (EAT) serving a totally seasonal menu created with food sourced hyper locally (from and with the local community). We have high ambitions and standards for our food, but we are trying to find ways of achieving that without compromising our ability to be as inclusive and accessible as possible.
To do this we have our BARTER and ART programmes. BARTER is an exchange process where people can contribute ingredients to our kitchen from their gardens/allotments in response to a call out or come and volunteer in our kitchen or vegetable garden and then barter with us for food in the restaurant. This is designed to open conversations and re-invigorate relationships and conversations around food production and build on community knowledge, but also to create alternative opportunities for access.
Finally our ART programme is designed to reflect on these other elements, questioning, building up and picking apart the work we are doing to make sure we don’t stagnate or get distracted from our central ethos.