By Shelley Clark
FRIDA KAHLO: APPEARANCES CAN BE DECEIVING, IS AN INNOVATIVE, IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE COMBINING ART, CULTURE, AND FOOD AT THE BROOKLYN MUSEUM.
This is the most ambitious and far-reaching collaboration that the Brooklyn Museum and Great Performances Hospitality Group have undertaken to date, building on the success of their collaboration on David Bowie Is at the Brooklyn Museum last year.
GP has created an engaging food program which will run for the duration of the exhibition and is designed to bring a multi-sensory experience connecting the community, the exhibition, and Mexican culture through all five senses. GP chefs Saul Bolton and Andy Mejias collaborated with highly-acclaimed local Mexican cuisine-centric chefs including Carlos and Felipe Arellano of Park Slope’s Chela; Justin Bazdarich of Greenpoint’s Oxomoco; Natalia Mendez of The Bronx’s La Morada; TJ Steele of Gowanus’s Claro; and Sue Torres, television personality and consultant.
Guided by Saul Bolton, GP’s Michelin star chef and executive chef at The Norm, the full-service, on-site restaurant GP operates at the museum, the partner chefs will take on residencies at The Norm, creating special dishes inspired by the life and work of Frida Kahlo, which will rotate through The Norm’s menu during the exhibition. The menu will be reimagined to showcase Mexican ingredients, flavors and techniques. (Click here to see The Norm’s Frida Kahlo inspired all day and brunch menus).
The beverage program at The Norm has also been updated with signature Mexican-themed cocktails and a coffee program delivered by Brooklyn Roasting Company featuring a custom Oaxacan blend. The coffee will also be sold in the museum’s gift shop and at Brooklyn Roasting’s seven coffee shops.
The talented group of partner chefs will also collaborate with GP on a series of activations throughout the museum, sharing their Mexican food and culture expertise with the public through events including POP up offerings of signature items at Target First Saturdays; cooking demonstrations; and a talk about the history, traditions, and regional differences of Mexican cuisine.
The first partner chefs whose dishes will be featured at The Norm are Sue Torres and the Arellano Brothers. Three dishes by Torres will be available Feb. 8 to March 4:
Flautas de Camarones – shrimp, with garlic, red onion, jalapeño, cilantro, lemon and lime zest, rolled in corn tortillas and deep fried and served with guajillo sauce topped with shredded lettuce, pico de gallo, crema pura, radishes, and guacamole.
Gordita de Plaintain – sweet plantain cakes stuffed with black beans and goat cheese, that are deep fried and served on roasted pumpkin seed salsa with a twang of lime juice and topped with crema pura and red onions cured in lime juice with red habanero.
Pescado Escondito – red snapper fillet marinated in achiote paste enhanced with orange, lime and roasted garlic and onion. Snapper is pan roasted and served with fried plaintains, roasted cherry tomato and onions with rice redolent of bay leaf and butter.
Carlos and Felipe Arellano’s vegetarian dishes will remain on the menu throughout the exhibition. They are:
Huarache de Nopales– grilled nopale cactus pad, topped with grilled nopale, refried black beans, guajillo chili roasted mushrooms, queso fresco, chopped onion, cilantro, and salsa rojo
Budin Vegatariano– budin layered with sautéed spinach, nopale salad, grilled corn, salsa verde, and queso Oaxaca
The Norm has been transformed to incorporate Frida Kahlo’s persona as chronicled in the exhibition: one wall has been re-painted in the soft salmon color that is used as a backdrop throughout the show; and The Norm’s hallmark wall of art showcases works by Carlos Mendez, once an assistant to Frida’s husband, Diego Riviera. The artwork is from two of his print portfolios and documents and celebrates the variety of clothing worn by people from cultures across Mexico, including the Tehuana style Frida Kahlo favored. More of his Tehuana clothing depictions are part of Frida Kahlo: Appearances Can Be Deceiving.
Much of the culinary programming for the exhibition is still in the development stage, so be sure to check-out The Norm’s website over the next 14 weeks for updates!