Museum Chefs and the Art of Dining

When most people think of visiting a museum, images of paintings, photographs, sculptures, and other genres of art come to mind. Traditionally, the standard museum cafe has not been the focal point of anyone's visit. Today, however, museums are hiring executive chefs who are serving up gourmet meals in stunning restaurants. The art on the walls is now rivaled by the art on the table.

Blending the Culinary and Visual Arts

In the past, eating at the museum cafeteria was similar to the experience of dining (if you could call that) at an amusement park. Long lines of people juggling plastic trays eyed mediocre and over-priced food and then wandered about looking for a place to sit. Museums began overhauling their culinary service when they realized that eating at a museum should be as much a pleasurable and cultural experience as viewing the art.

Chefs Make the Art 'Tasteful'

Executive chefs with impressive culinary backgrounds are now brought in to create menus that offered a variety of international cuisines. Gourmet selections such as pheasant, truffles, lobster, and foie gras appear on the menu at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Also, many chefs now design menus which revolve around the museum's current exhibition, by researching the history of the art and the culinary traditions of the artwork's country of origin.

Come for the Food and Stay for the Art

Chefs are also realizing that high-quality food in museums will attract a repeat clientele of local diners, and not just hungry tourists who happen to be on site. Museum restaurants are including ongoing musical performances and wine tastings and are hosting catered events. The restaurants often showcase spectacular views of downtown skylines or outdoor sculptural gardens and artfully inspired interiors.

Professional chefs work in a variety of culinary environments. The museum atmosphere is a perfect place to highlight the culinary arts as well as the other kinds.

Philadelphia Museum of Art
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