DiBiccari, the chef at Boston's Storyville and host of the innovative dining challenge series Chef Louie Night, launches a new endeavor on June 3 from 2 to 6 p.m. called CREATE: Six Artists, Six Chefs, One Canvas, at the Boston Center for Adult Education. Six regional artists, including Josh Falk and Emily Lombardo, and Miracle 5, will be paired up with six chefs like Brandon Arms of Garden at the Cellar and Douglas Rodrigues of Clio to collaborate on dishes inspired by the artwork. The idea, DiBiccari says, is to help bridge the gap between fine arts and culinary arts.
Q. What's your connection to the art world?
A. About six years ago I was very involved with an amazing person who lived over in Fort Point. It was just as the developers were coming in and seizing control of Fort Point Channel. I've been keeping an eye on what was going on over there. It was really disheartening to see how people got pushed out and ended up in Providence, Lowell, Brockton. The artist community kind of got blown up. I pick up the Improper Bostonian or Stuff, and I think "How many chefs are you going to put on your cover?" It's great for my career, and I love that [the local press] supports restaurants, athletes, and actors, but I don't see a lot of balance in the community between art and music living and coexisting with restaurants and sports.
Q. It seems like a cool idea, are people getting into CREATE?
A. This is just sort of an idea to bring those worlds [of fine art and cooking] together in one area. I guarantee the thing would be sold out if it was Ken Oringer and Barbara Lynch and Ming Tsai with big name artists. But we decided we wanted to take a different approach with local artists that don't have a big name yet, but are doing all they can. I know who all the young talent is in the kitchen, so finding them was no problem. It was a real challenge to find out who the artists were. We had to turn over a lot of rocks to find this crew of really amazing talent.
Q. What's the plan for it going forward?
A. We decided to sell it through Gilt City, with their large network, since we started from scratch. The best thing to do is latch onto the big media partner . . . What I'd like to see happen is this thing sells out, I talk to the city of Boston or whoever and say I need bigger space for this next year. I want to foster artists back into the city, create more of an art scene in Boston. We have great schools, Mass Art, the MFA school, but artists leave, go to Chicago, Brooklyn, San Francisco — they're not staying necessarily. Not to bash the city in any way, but we could be doing a better job in the media, and having different programs to make Boston a more complete place. This is just one idea.
Q. What's the actual format of the day look like?
A. Each chef is paired up with an artist. The chef has to come up with a composition based on the subject matter of the artist. For example, in the first kitchen at the BCAE, the one that's more exposed, we're going to have these amazing woodworkers !ND!V!DUALS. They create stories — for Bonnaroo one year they did an installation called Lovesick Cafe. Jason Cheek, who was at KO Prime, is doing something with food relative to what they did with the installation. Upstairs each room will have a chef and an artist. It's good for the restaurants, a little different, and the artists can sell their work.
Q. Will the dishes be more like "food art," or more standard dishes do you think?
A. We intentionally went after a lot of different styles of artists and also chefs. [Suzi Maitland of Trina’s Starlite Lounge] mostly does like hot dogs, really cool riffs on hot dogs, that’s their shtick, but at Clio Dougie has one of the most state-of-the-art kitchens in the country; they do things that are more molecular gastronomy, cutting edge. To see the different spectrum of what these guys are going to come up with is really sort of the best part.
For more information, visit www.giltcity.com/boston and search under "city" tab. Tickets $75.
Luke O'Neil can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at lukeoneil47.