“Artists in the Kitchen” Textiles + Food = Art (It’s True)

Artists in the Kitchen

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a public reception at the Textile Center in St. Paul. Eh hem… I freely admit I had never heard of the Textile Center before and I have lived in MN my entire life and spent over 4 years trekking the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus.  IT’S RIGHT THERE!  I know now and I plan to visit more frequently. It is a smaller gallery, but the center also has an abundance of rooms for classes, teaching and even fabric dying (once you’ve taken a safety course, of course—I am fairly certain I would end up resembling an oompa loompa without any instruction.)

The gallery exhibit runs March 21st-May 19th, 2018. It is 50 works by 50 women artists inspired by 50 women chefs and restaurateurs. The event I attended was a moderator lead panel of 4 of the teams.

The discussion was around how the teams were paired, how they worked together, how the ideas for the art became inspiration and how the art became a final product of two to five creative minds. Upon closing the questions came in and they were fun, inventive and inspiring.

Lynne Rossetto Kasper (American Food Writer, co-creator of The Splendid Table, Radio Journalist, James Beard Award Winner for Best National Radio Show and Cookbook of the Year, etc.) was on the panel paired with Carolyn Halliday. Lynne reminded us that “Chef” literally means chief or boss. Not necessarily having to do with solely the culinary world. Too often we forget or may not even know. She told an amazing story of how her mother would always have coffee and a pastry made when guests would come to her house. The pastry would always begin with dough, butter, cinnamon, sugar and seasonal fruit. In less than fifteen minutes the aromatics of a freshly baked sweet was filling the air. They called these “four miles of bad road”, as the look of the oblong pastries with fruit scattered about resembled this landscape fairly accurately. 🙂

Jenny Breen (Culinary Nutritionist and Professional Chef) paired with her sister Rachel Breen, reminded us that taking a deep breathe before eating actually kick starts your digestive system. I personally find it calming to pause before eating regardless, but now I will certainly be taking a deep breathe with this little nugget of information.

I am a firm believer that food is art. I am a firm believer that you eat with your eyes first. Although these pieces of art were not to be eaten as they were made of textiles, their inspiration was through pieces of food, their elements, plated meals, etc. It was quite lovely to see how each artist’s final piece came together based on who they were paired with and what the subject matter came to be. Quite lovely indeed.

Art, food, culture, sustainability, social justice, you name it, they touched on it. It was an honor to be a part of this experience.

You must take a walk through!

For more information follow this link:


A short list of some of the restaurants these artists recommend that they believe do not have the notoriety they deserve:

  1. The Wedge Table
  2. Mill City Farmer’s Market
  3. Quang
  4. Sift
  5. Sunstreet Breads
  6. Linden Hills Sunday Farmer’s Market
  7. Kado no Mise

My short list:

  1. Victor’s 1959 Cafe
  2. Emily’s Lebanese Deli
  3. Gardens of Salonica
  4. Main Street Farmer Eatery
  5. Rainbow Chinese (for the egg roll, which can also be purchased at the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market)IMG_2792

“Whatever it is you are searching for…I hope you can eat it!”

It was a brown bag lunch opportunity, so I made a cold summer salad for my cousin Ali and I…

Spring Fresh Lime-Mint Grain Salad
Yield: 3-4 cups
1/2 cup each dry farro, bulgur, red quinoa, brown rice
4 cups water
1 cup fresh mint, chiffonade
Juice of 1 lime
Zest of 1 lime
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil
1 large sweet potato, diced into 1/2″ cubes
1 medium size white onion, diced into 1/2″ cubes
1 leek, rinsed, cleaned, cut in half and 1/2″ sliced
1 ripe avocado, diced into 1/4″ cubes
1 clove garlic, peeled and minced
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
Toss sweet potato, onion and leek in 2 tablespoons olive/avocado oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Spread on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake until tender enough to pierce with a fork about 15-20 minutes.
Bring 4 cups of water to boil and add grain. Cover and simmer until al dente, approximately 15-20 minutes.
Chiffonade mint leaves, zest and juice 1 lime. Combine in a medium size mixing bowl with remaining oil.
Remove grain from heat and let cool or place in refrigerator to cool.
Remove vegetables from stove and let cool.
Once both cool, add to mixing bowl and fold until combined. Add avocado, salt and pepper to taste.



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