By Kathryne Grisim (@foodmuser)
You may have heard that the Winnipeg Art Gallery is hosting a special exhibit of the works of Pablo Picasso this summer. In celebration of this fabulous exhibit, the restaurant at the WAG, headed up by Chef Mark Andrews is hosting a special dinner and gallery tour entitled “Feast: Picasso & Mediterranean Cuisine.”
“Feast” is both a noun and a verb. Recently some of my social media friends and I were treated by the WAG to a Picasso Feast. This was in celebration of the unique opportunity to view the “Picasso in Canada-Man & Beast” exhibit. We feasted upon three Mediterranean cuisine courses as Picasso was born in Spain but lived in southern France for much of his life. The dishes themselves were exquisite to look at and we feasted with our eyes.
We commenced with the first course of omelette nicoise, cherry tomato gazpacho and root vegetable ravioli. I chose this option and was delighted by the tartness of the gazpacho to balance the savoury ravioli and omelette.
The non-vegetarian option featured a lamb rib instead of the ravioli.
Our main course was free-range chicken with lemon paella cake, baby spring vegetables and the piece de resistance: saffron balsamic syrup. The vegetarian entrée substituted a wild mushroom and mixed bean paella.
Stuffed to capacity, I don’t know how I had the room for dessert but somehow managed to slurp down a banana caramel custard topped with sherry and coconut. The dinner from start to finish was absolutely delectable and enhances the Picasso exhibition with symbolic food choices. See if you can connect the significance of the cherry tomato gazpacho to the Picasso story.
Our subsequent feast for the eyes was moving to the upper galleries for the Picasso exhibit. We were particularly blessed to have Rachel Baerg, head of education at the WAG along as our personal tour guide. Having studied the history of art as my second minor in university, I knew that Picasso was a man way ahead of his time and was truly a genius artiste. Rachel’s enthusiasm absolutely bubbled over and I became to know more about Picasso the man, the husband, father and womanizer.
The installation is awe inspiring with hundreds of prints from The Vollard Suite as well as enormous and significant pieces on loan from other Canadian Galleries. I won’t tarnish your experience by revealing too much.
An artist’s (or a chef’s) hands have always fascinated me. How does the vision of the finished product move from the head, past the heart and into the fingers that then puts the piece on a canvas or a plate?
I had never seen this gorgeous depiction of one of Picasso’s many muses. Her beauty is breathtaking and lovingly put to paper.
My personal favourites were and always have been Picasso’s simple pencil drawings. He is so masterful that the simplest line is perfection.
I also got a significant kick out of his self-portraits. What was it about this man that attracted younger lovers in a string over the decades?
The exhibit is beautifully laid out.
The Feast at the Winnipeg Art Gallery (300 Memorial Boulevard) is June 8 (sold out), July 6 and August 10, 2017. Dinner is at 6 p.m. and the tour at 7:30 p.m. Tickets to the exhibit only are $18, and $70 for the exhibit ($65 for WAG members). Reserve your spot online or call (204) 789-1290.
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