Color of Hunger

Last night’s Top Design tasked the competing designers with designing a chef’s table for Tom Colicchio.

Embryo designer Michael Adams, who totally looks like Messy Marvin of Hershey’s Syrup fame, explains red as one of his color choices because “psychologically, it’s the color that makes you hungry. It makes food taste better while looking at it.” Michael’s red was represented by three canvas panels that provoked the hobbity Todd Oldham to wonder, “Is there any suggestion of a crime scene here? I mean, it looks almost violent to me.”

Having long heard about the psychological influences of color, I wanted to check out Michael’s theory. First of all, I remember being told that red rooms made people nervous and high strung, but then I recalled that my redecorating friends told me how the Victorians often used red for their dining rooms. This set me wondering if Jane Eyre got extremely hungry during her terrifying tenure in “the red-room.”

Anyway, it would appear that while red is sometimes associated with enhanced metabolism, I found that orange got more mentions as an appetite stimulant. Conversely, it turns out that the color blue is an appetite suppressant because there are very few naturally occurring blue foods out there. (Blueberries, blue … cheese?)

Sadly for Michael, his attempt to stimulate hunger and simulate taste left the judges unsatisfied, and he was “see you later, decorator”’d.

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