Monday, April 5, 2010

Dori Latman's Fritos & Champagne Part II: Dinner

Dinner can be solitary, in front of the television with a reheated slice of pizza. It can be on the go, with crumpled paper bags strewn across the back seat. It can be a meal shared with family and friends. Dinner, a live cooking event and exhibition, is a celebration of the moments when a simple plate of food becomes a landmark in one’s own life. The event and exhibition respond to the culinary and social means through which one is nourished. The exhibition includes drawings and video works. The live cooking event will showcase a three-dish menu freshly cooked by Radio Africa and Kitchen. Together, these pieces highlight a range of approaches to cooking dinner.

Chef Eskender Aseged, a Bay Area chef with over 20 years of restaurant experience, began Radio Africa and Kitchen by cooking meals for people out of his home. Though, Eskender’s project is of a scale larger than an intimate domestic space. He moves and adapts his operation for a variety of situations and places, from large dining halls, to outdoor spaces, to small cafes. It is those who participate in Radio Africa’s events that promote it. First, Dori Latman knew Eskender as her neighbor, though it was through word-of-mouth that she learned about his project.

Dori Latman's interest in Radio Africa and Kitchen relates to the series of vending carts that she has developed for art exhibitions, serving food and beverages to gallery visitors. Latman experiments with intersections of art, food, and business as a vehicle for fund raising and social networking. She creates multiple versions of the vending cart for different types of events. The foundation of this series has been built through experience in food service at cafes, bakeries, and outdoor festivals and with stretching the meaning of drawing and performance. The artist explores ideas of entertainment, consumption, labor, and culinary creativity. Learning about Radio Africa and Kitchen’s development and processes has been an invaluable education and source for inspiration.

Chef Eskender Aseged shares with Dori Latman's project the possibity to eat well in any space. In that spirit, he brings his nomadic kitchen to Adobe Books Backroom Gallery to celebrate a neighborhood with rich history, dynamic people, and delicious food.As stated on Radio Africa’s Website ( “RADIO AFRICA & KITCHEN is a nomadic restaurant with sustainable products and methods. The food is inspired by old world recipes of Mediterranean and Red Sea countries. The goal of Radio Africa is to create extraordinary meals out of organically grown ordinary ingredients. In the tasting menu we offer weekly, the theme is to create a nutritionally well balanced dinner by including seasonal vegetables, greens, grains, nuts, wild fish, shellfish and fruit.”

Many thanks to chef Eskender Aseged and Bi Rite Market for their generous donations of time and delicious food!