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Chef’s Eye - Pickled and Preserved

Friday, January 9, 2015

By Nick Wallace, Executive Chef

My passions about locally sourced ingredients and southern food mesh perfectly in my position as Executive Chef at the Mississippi Museum of Art. Walking the galleries of The Mississippi Story, I see artistic sojourns all around. Pieces reflect the African Diaspora, the fertile Delta, Old Master techniques translated anew by Mississippi artists. These same ideas parallel the histories of West African okra and French-inspired cuisine and home grown food that I live every day. I see, in the visual art around me, a reflection of the culinary world. Another medium of creativity.

Glennray Tutor (born 1950), Still Life: A Season of Moment, 2003. oil on linen. Copyright © the artist.

It’s in this spirit that I’ll be sharing with you some of the artworks that invigorate me and make me think even more intentionally about the culinary art I strive to create. I’m lucky to be able to take my coffee just a few steps away from an amazing Glennray Tutor painting. Still Life: Season of Moment, his iconic depiction of mason jars chock full, is one of my favorites. It’s about slow food. Preservation and preparation. It’s a little canvas window through which I access my own inspirations and rediscover why I love crafting food in Mississippi.

You can get a taste of my own jarred cucumbers and all the other dishes on my menu (the okra makes it into the gumbo) at The Paletté Cafe by Viking - brought to life from the art and ingredients around me.