Curation of culture and cuisine

Our next three dinners will be:
26 January (Sensuous, Sexy South Beach)

2 February (Year of the Rabbit Dinner)

19 February (noMAD MEN & Women).

Driving through London today I couldn’t help but notice all of the museums. This got me thinking about this idea of curation. In a museum or gallery a curator is responsible for the study, acquisition and care of objects, these works of art being presented to the public. The history and cultural heritage of the pieces created by the artists are important in the communication of their work, the pleasure given to the observers of their work. While I am not responsible for the design and placement of of great works of art in museums, I recognize the importance of the knowledge that goes into their selection and am happy that there are those more suited than I to present them in ways that allow me to get a glimpse of what the artist had in mind, where he or she was living at the time and the cultural context or their work.

It doesn’t take much to realize that the images carefully inserted above have nothing to do with each other. It would make more sense that the curator has a funny sense of post-modern humor. But in fact, while the themes of our dinners here at the Nomad Chef seem to have little to do with each other, the dinners themselves are carefully curated. Tomorrow’s dinner, for example is called Nomad Chef: Anti-antebellum, a lovely play on words to evoke a sense of rebellion (the root of the word ‘bellum’) and rebellion against the plantation culture of the South (in the US) during slavery. But for all of our horror at the thought of slavery, we cannot help but celebrate the food that came out of the South during that time, with its many cultural influences (French, English, Caribbean, African and more). So while we will be serving some traditional fare (gumbo with crab, shrimp, oysters and squid), we will spice it up with some totally unexpected treats from France and Southeast Asia.

The attention to detail paid to our seemingly random fusing of cultures and cuisines is just as important when curating the ambiance. The strangers who come are as important as our frequent visitors, and the conversational lubricant is the carefully cultivated aperitif where people and the fragrance of food mingle. We are lucky to have amazing musicians who sing for their supper, singer songwriters who try out their new material on us in exchange for the opportunity to eat and talk with the self selecting adventurers who choose to travel the world while sitting at a table at the Nomad Chef.

Museum curators may be partial to particular artists or particular works, but I am as passionate about each dinner theme as I am about each dinner and dish. But I am even more passionate about those who join us in our culinary adventures. I am not sure we have something for everyone but for everyone who comes through our doors we have a tremendous appreciation and delight. The stories they tell and the lives they lead are the artifacts they leave behind. And as urban nomads, we find the best stuff and pass it on. Our pleasure comes from finding the culture and cuisine that we love and passing it on to you with love, giving you a greater appreciation of the art of food.

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