Art Eats menu inspired by Inuit art and traditional diet
Posted by Andrea Ratuski, SCENE Producer | Wednesday February 6, 2013
Jessie Oonark (Baker Lake), Woman, 1970, stonecut on paper; Karoo Ashevak (Taloyoak), Shaman, 1971, whale bone, plastic, stone, sinew
Creativity is one of the most important things when it comes to planning something like this. The customer is expecting something different when they come in because it is an Art Eats.
—Scott Hyndman, co-executive chef, Storm Bistro
So what would you expect to be served at a special dinner designed to accompany the Winnipeg Art Gallery's latest exhibit of Inuit art?
Storm Bistro's chef Scott Hyndman says it was definitely a challenge to come up with a meal to go along with an Inuit exhibit. So he and his three co-executive chefs decided to base their menu around salmon.
"We do like to go through the exhibits to see if there's anything we can
pull out of it in terms of inspiration," he says. "Obviously with the Inuit art
there's lots of fish representation, and that's one of the things that
led us to think that that would be the best fit for this event.
"What we went with was the idea of a head to tail aspect where we try to use as much of one protein as possible," he explains.
That means salmon in every course, even dessert. The first course features butter lettuce and seaweed salad with Edamame beans topped with crispy salmon skins that are almost like croutons. The main course is a salmon fillet with fish and beet broth served with wild and basmati rice and root vegetables. The dessert is a sweet steamed egg custard topped with a surprising salty pop of salmon roe.
Storm Bistro on the rooftop of the WAG (Leif Norman)
"What we took as inspiration would be the necessity to use as much of one item and have as little waste as possible," says Hyndman.
Obviously some license needed to be taken in the vegetable department, as veggies simply don't grow on the frozen tundra. Hyndman says they opted for root vegetables which could be conserved for a long time.
The chefs did some research and found that the Inuit diet consists of almost strictly meat and fat. Though during certain months, foragable berries are available.
"Creativity is one of the most important things when it comes to planning something like this. The customer is expecting something different when they come in because it is an Art Eats. Tying it to both the exhibit and the meal itself I think is one of the things that makes the evening special for everyone," Hyndman says.
It's pretty unusual to have a kitchen manned by four co-executive chefs -- four cooks with different backgrounds and different experiences. Joining Hyndman are Jamie Gomez, Chris Taing and Rouan Robb, but Hyndman says it creates a really cooperative kitchen where they can rely on each other for input and to try to make sure they're putting out the best product.
"It's new for us to be trying to create these inspirational dishes from the exhibits themselves," says Hyndman. "So when we get to put something together like this it's a little more special for us because we can actually sit down and discuss it and try to get something that all four of us are really proud of."Art Eats, featuring a special meal followed by in-depth tour of Creation and Transformation: Defining Moments in Inuit Art takes place February 8, 22 and March 22.