When you think of France and culture, what comes to mind? Monet? Bordeaux? Haute cusine and the original terroir?
Now think about Haiti. And culture. Are you coming up with a slightly different image?
Haiti seems to get the short-end of the stick (once again) when it comes to having access to platforms to show off its rich art and culture. But it doesn't have to be that way! Haiti has a dynamic modern art scene, with up-and-coming Haitian artists creating metal-work, paintings and photographs depicting daily life in Haiti, as well as the intriguing traditions of Haitian Vodou. And Haiti has a unique set of culinary traditions: an innovative fusion of French influences, Caribbean flare and Haitian resourcefulness.
The Museum of African Culture in Portland, Maine is hosting a Haitian art exhibition, both to expose New Englanders to authentic Haitian art, and to give Haiti a well-deserved platform to show the world its inspiring face. But we all know that the best way to experience a culture is to take it in using all five senses. Thus, we are proposing a series of Haitian Culinary Immersion Nights: a pop-up restaurant/participatory exhibit which will take place in the midst of the Haitian art exhibition.
The edible exhibition will be a series of dinners for 8 to 12 people. The menu for each event will feature an assortment of traditional Haitian dishes, and each dinner will be dedicated to a particular Haitian Vodou spirit. (The decor, food, etc. will reflect his/her particular likes or dislikes.)
Along with the dinner, participants will get to watch an original Haitian film, while at the Museum.
What We Will Be Using the Money For:
-marketing material - so we can get people from all over Maine involved!
-rental expenses (tables and chairs for the gallery space, dishes, catering equipment, etc.- so we can turn the museum into a pop-up restaurant)
-food - what's a culinary event, after-all, without some nosh??
Risks and challenges
Risks and Challenges Include:
-adequate marketing, so that we reach the designated quota for each dinner, and so that we get a diverse group of participants
-getting people to commit to coming ahead of time, so that our food costs come out to as close to predicted as possible
-putting together an authentic menu that is logistically feasible (and delicious)
-accurately budgeting food costs
-coordinating the food production and service
-ensuring food is prepared and served safely
-effectively documenting the events, so that we will have a more permanent educational resource
There's lots of work to be done, but the good news is, we already have the gallery space ready to go. We have access to folks who are ServSafe certified and have (or are in the process of) studying culinary arts. And we have experts on Haitian food, who we can bounce ideas off of. All we need is your support, and we can really kick this plan into action! (In kind donations also welcome..)