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A lways eager to provide a new and interesting dining experience for its patrons, the Cameron Art Museum embraced Wrightsville Beach Magazine art director Shawn Best’s concept to create food as art and art as food. CAM Café’s Jessica Cabo, a self-taught chef who has trained with world-class chefs on both the East and West Coasts, created a selection of dishes based on artwork featured in the museum’s permanent collection. Before coming to the CAM, Cabo had not worked in a museum but often sought out paintings and differ-ent forms of artwork to provide inspiration for the visual representations of her dishes. “Being at the art museum has helped create my brand of food,” Cabo explains. “It is very much about the visual presentation as well as how the food tastes and what ingredients go together. In pairing that with the abundance of local and organic products that are available in our area, you are able to create dishes that are unique to the people and the Wilmington area.” With staff at the CAM, Cabo selected art from the museum’s permanent collection for inspiration. Cabo created her own edible and beautiful art for the museum patrons. Je Depew helped Cabo with the plating of the dishes, acting as an assistant creative director or a sounding board for her ideas as she created them. “This is the first time we have represented pieces from our current collection through dishes that visually represented them,” CAM executive director Anne Brennan says. “Opening this venue has shown us how we can make art visual in more senses than just with the eyes.” This endeavor has inspired an entire tasting menu for the café based on artwork featured in the museum. CABO’S FIRST DISH, “Physics,” was inspired by Claude Howell’s painting, “Physics Still Life.” Howell is a Wilming-ton- born artist whose work is displayed in multiple local and national venues. His art is inspired, mostly, by his experiences growing up in a coastal community, and the ever-changing climate of the Wilmington area, so it is only fitting that Cabo relied on Feast Down East, an eastern North Carolina-based company providing people with organic and farm-fresh vegetables grown within 150 miles of where they live, to acquire all of her produce. With the inspiration of Howell’s work in her mind, Cabo began to create her dish using, among other ingredients, lotus root, lychee nuts, beet and turnip roots, various heirloom carrots and baby corn to create a visual representation of his art. Cabo then crafted multiple purees and zests to accent the dish, ensuring that it was not just beautiful and inspired, but tasty as well. “I first saw this piece of work at an exhibition with my nephew,” Cabo recalls. “He was fascinated by all of the moving parts and how they simulated robots, so when I was presented with this project that was the first one I chose. Since this piece is so abstract it allowed me to create an imaginative inspiration for my food. I collected beautiful and seasonal local vegeta-bles and used different methods to cut them, which altered their shape and presentation.” 35 www.wrightsvillebeachmagazine.com WBM


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