I've spent the past few days preparing for the food photography exhibit for the welcoming event at the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) conference. The event happened yesterday and was absolutely fabulous. It took place at the Merchandise Mart, and the overarching themes were Chicago and food art. The Mart showrooms that chose to participate each hosted a particular theme. My showroom was Valcucine, and my theme was food photography. I wish I had done more (I still regret not being able to find someone to create that food photography cake) but I think in the end it turned out pretty well. We had 5 large photos by Jeff Kauck hanging from the ceiling, and 5 smaller photographs scattered on easels through the showroom. I also created a number of tiny matted stock photos to hang and scatter throughout the room, just to draw the eye through the exhibit. We also had a Chicago-themed video put together by Eric Futran, which featured a montage of local food photos set to a foodie-based version of Sweet Home Chicago. Valcucine decided to keep the exhibit up for a while as part of their showroom, so you can see it if you happen to be passing through the Mart anytime soon.
I also participated in the Written Word exhibit, headed by Leslie Swibes, which was in the Varenna Poliform showroom. The walls were decorated with food quotes, and themed cocktail napkins covered with quotes related to food and wine accompanied the wine stations and bread table. There was also a huge wok full of fortune cookies with food quotes inside.
This event was the brainchild of Shelley Young, owner of the Chopping Block. Shelley and Linda Avery, Executive Food Editor of Leite's Culinaria oversaw the event and all of the exhibits, and they did an amazing job. I would imagine that this was one of the most creative events that the IACP has ever seen.
The other exhibits are listed below, and you can see photos of the show on Flickr.
- Meat and Potatoes Buffet at the Chopping Block.
- Pulled Sugar Demonstration by Mark Seaman of Marked for Dessert at the Chopping Block.
- Jel Art Gelatin Flowers created by injecting food coloring into the gelatin, by Delectogo at the Chopping Block (they were tasty, too
- Ice Bar and Bananas Foster Shots provided by moto Restaurant and Jim Nadeau of Nadeau Ice Sculptures, Inc. (I give, moto is cool, and the bartenders were really fun.)
- Interactive Audio Challenge Video by Steve Dolinsky, Host of Hungry Hound.
- Merchandise Mart Cake Sculpture by Cathay Li of the Sugar Syndicate.
- Sustainable Fish, bathtub aquariums with live fish provided by Shedd Aquarium in Kohler. [Correction: Shedd provided Right Bite cards. The fish were bought from Old Town Aquarium.]
- Micro-Greens Countertops by Bill Bagby of Tiny Greens at Pedini.
- Breaking Bread, a 16 foot bread loaf.
- Edible Zen Garden, sugar sand and beignet rocks, in Urban Archeology.
- Bee Cheese Mosaic by Nadine Royster, Artist and Wisconsin Milk in Granite Marble Resources.
- Iron Maiden Serving Girl by Red Moon Theater.
- Corpus Delecti, a human figure made of gelatin by Sage Reed in association with Local Infinities Visual Theatre. Rachel Humphrey, Chopping Block chef and author of the Sweet Savory, oversaw this exhibit.
- Edible Dress, Verdure Couture by Sage Reed.
- Wild Mushroom Countertop by Tyler Gray of Mikuni Wild Harvest in Smartrooms.
- Chicago Food TV: Steve Dolinsky, Host of Hungry Hound and LeeAnn Trotter, Host of Good Eats in DiGiulio.
- Spice Art Rug and Aromatics by Barbara Koenen, Artist and Patti Erd of the Spice House in Chicago Kitchen.
- Illinois Wines from Fox Valley Winery and Owl Creek Vineyard and Mary Michelle Winery.
- Honey and Mead by Wild Blossom Meadery and Winery.
- Coffee by Intelligentsia.