The night the VAG let attendees eat the art

How to show off millennia in a single night—with food

April 28, 2016

By Trevor Melanson / Photo: Alison Boulier

Food as art: that was the theme last Friday night at the Vancouver Art Gallery, where local restaurants The Acorn and La Tab teamed up with events organizer Here There to give attendees a tasty tour through time. As part of the gallery’s ongoing exhibit, MashUp: The Birth of Modern Culture, the one-night-only event aimed to symbolize different eras of food production with four edible installations.

“Our chefs came together after walking through MashUp and tried to embody and embrace the exhibit itself,” says Shira Blustein, owner of The Acorn. The first installation quite literally recreated a forest floor—“like a section of the forest floor has been cut out and transferred into the gallery,” she says, “with edible soil and edible lava rocks.” Next up was mass production, represented by faux Spam cans filled with a cashew dip. “And then we move into the future of food,” Blustein says, “food distortion, or changing our perception of something.” This was represented by a carrots strung from the ceiling and then eventually cubed, coloured, and injected with new flavours. “And then a sort of space… sundae bar,” she says. “It was really ambitious.”

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That ambition apparently paid off, as the event was sold out days before Friday. All of the vegan dishes were co-creations of The Acorn and La Tab, and as for whether or not the restaurants might do something like this again in the future? Blustein hopes so; it was an odd experiment, but the VAG, she says, was the perfect place to do it. “It’s the first time we’ve ever done anything like this,” Blustein says, “and the chefs were so excited to push themselves and think about food in a different way—food as art. The whole process has been really exciting.”

While Friday night’s event has come and gone, MashUp: The Birth of Modern Culture runs until June 12 and features the works of artists such as Pablo Picasso and filmmaker Quentin Tarantino.

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