Come Dine With Me… TSAU
We have a longtime love for TSAU, since we collaborated with Bevan Agyemang’s label for the revival of Browns Focus: Series One back in 2021. We fell in love with the magical aura around his collections and their narratives, along with the timeless and dreamlike qualities of each piece.
Since his AW22 collection just launched at Browns - offering a standout wardrobe for party season - we wanted to catch up with Bevan to celebrate. The designer’s restaurant of choice is fitting, echoing the DNA of his label which embodies a fusion of his Ghanaian heritage and youth spent in London.
Hi Bevan! Where are you and what are you eating / drinking?
I’m sitting at the bar in Stork drinking a bubblegum cocktail.
Why did you choose this spot?
I love the fusion of traditional African cuisine within a contemporary space.
What’s your favourite thing on the menu?
The fufu, because it evokes memories of my childhood. During the pounding process I would sit with my mother as she'd feed me African proverbs. Growing up in London I saw eating fufu as a way of connecting with my origins but I would only ever eat it with a spoon. Over time I learned the significance of eating fufu with your hands - each finger represents the five elements of nature, and joining all of them together during consumption improves consciousness of the taste.
Let’s talk about the ingredients that make up your career. What are they? How did you get started?
John Berger's ways of seeing and an Olympus 35 SP. I used Berger’s theories to make sense of my thoughts which gave me a level of awareness when creating. I found myself deviating into certain environments to awaken certain sensibilities. The conversations and documentation within those environments were, and continue to be, archived.
When did you begin TSAU and why?
I started to design pieces for the characters that were playing out in my head. My personal style was being constructed through all the different environments I was moving through. It was somewhat of a bricolage effect and I was constructing a hybrid sense of identity. TSAU is an acronym for The Space Around Us so I guess it was born when I learned how to master my sensory organs through the elements around me and I gained an acquired sense perception.
Your work is a mixture of thoughtful and joyful. How do you find the balance between the flavours?
Thought and reflection usually stimulates a sensation inside of me. I think imagination is impossible without sensation and I think I’ve cultivated ingredients that grow from a place of joy.
How do you cook up an idea? Talk us through your creative process.
My sensibilities develop new traces but recognise old pathways. I never write down any ideas and choose to compartmentalise images whilst adding layers over time building on stories. I'm constantly linking ideas together whilst moving through space and creating a formula where I register, conserve and apply.
In your opinion, who has excellent taste?
Emily Adams of Bode has exemplary taste. I'm connected to sentimental narratives and artisanal techniques.
Now for the fun questions…. Favourite thing to eat?
Oven baked plantain.
Least favourite thing to eat?
Pears. I feel aesthetically they look good but I'm thrown off by the texture.
If TSAU was a dish, what dish would it be?
Waayke. Waayke originates from the northern region of Ghana consisting of Rice and Black-eyed beans. The Black-eyed beans embody the all-seeing eye within TSAU and the process of creating new ways of seeing.
What one food / drink from your Ghanaian heritage can’t you live without?
Sobolo, which is a beverage made up of dried hibiscus leaves and water. I usually mix it with a few drops of rose water, ginger and some mint leaves to restore my balance.
What would your last meal be?
It would have to be fufu as it takes at least seven hours to digest, which should hold me down until absolute transcendence.
If you could only eat one cuisine for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Definitely Indian cuisine. I'm drawn to the infinite array of fresh spices and intoxicating aromas. I'm a work in progress working towards a sattvic diet.
What's your favourite restaurant in the whole world?
Le Trou au Mur in Marrakech, Morocco. It was the first time my kids had left the UK and the restaurant will always hold a special place in all our hearts.
What three people (living or dead) are at your dream dinner table?
Alice Coltrane - Listening to Coltrane's music has often been the gateway to opening portals for myself. Coltrane paints melodic shapes on Journey into Satchidananda, and her use of the crystalline harp pulls on my heart strings.
Le Corbusier - As a divine architect of space I'd like to discover how he formed his design principles. Corbusier also expressed his admiration for jazz and described it as the melody of the soul. "Jazz is more important than architecture. If architecture were at a point reached by jazz, it would be an incredible spectacle."
Lee 'Scratch' Perry - His Dadaist approach and existence in multiple realms allowed him to apply magic to everything he produced.
In life, what’s the best recipe for success?
The use of natural ingredients is always advised. Understanding that the process is where lessons are learned, and lays at the heart of every end result.
They say that success smells sweet. What does it smell like to you?
Argarwood, Bulgrain Rose Base and patchouli.
Photography: Jonathan Middleton
Words: Sophy Davis Russell
Come Dine With Me… (di)vision
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