Walker Kitchen Lab Serves Up Surprises Tonight at Open Field

Walker Artists in Residence Carl and Betsy DiSalvo (designers/researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology) have been facilitating a two-week workshop on reconceiving the concept of the kitchen. They’ve assembled a group of University of Minnesota students and experts in a range of subjects—from ceramics to history to social justice—that all, in one way or another, have a perspective to offer on the subject of food. After much brainstorming, discussion, and sketching, the Kitchen Lab Collective has created several prototype boxes that contain tools for new ways of thinking about the way we experience food and cooking.

The prototype boxes will be introduced tonight, between 6 and 9 p.m. on the Open Field. I stopped by last night to get a sneak peek and found a few cool concepts in the works. For example:

  • A small solar oven, which will be used to heat up fondue for tonight’s event.
  • A tea garden/tea set consisting of a collection of herbs for making various teas, plus recipes and a setup for participants to brew their own hot or sun tea.
  • A collection of bottled and jarred smells (examples of which are pictured below, courtesy of Kitchen Lab) that encourages participants to blend custom smells evocative of a concept or place. For example: the smells of dried roses, plus black licorice, plus dusty book pages might evoke grandma’s house.

Plus: at 8 p.m., the Picnic Operetta will offer a musical performance with an accompanying five-course tasting menu, related to the story, served during the show.

If you’d like an extra incentive to check out the Walker’s Open Field this summer, I have a few vouchers for free beverages or food at the museum’s Garden Grill. Share your pipe dream ideas for reimagining your kitchen in the comments section (hydroponic herb garden! carbonated water on tap! self-cleaning dishes!), and we’ll pick five winners!