Have you ever been presented with a dish that looks like one thing and turns out to be another? How about a dish that you can't identify as food at all? Take for example a cake that appears to be a standard frosted layer cake, but when you're presented with a slice it turns out to be a cake made of meatloaf with mashed potatoes as frosting. Or maybe you'll be surprised by an everything bagel with cream cheese that turns out to be made of bagel-flavored ice cream.
Chefs have been disguising food for a long time, whether to amuse diners or demonstrate artistry. In fact, the fascination with studying the physical and chemical processes behind cooking is responsible for much of the experimental food that has driven the careers of such chefs as Ferran Adrià, Wylie Dufresne, Grant Achatz and José Andrés.
Because eating food is such a sensory experience, it can be jarring for some people to bite into a dish and taste something completely different from what they were expecting. On the other hand, the whimsical nature of these dishes can be exciting and fun for others.