Monday, November 09, 2015

News: The new Brooklin Museum of food and drink is part Willy Wonka, part Eameses.

Before this week, the Museum of Food and Drink was largely conceptual. In the mind of Dave Arnold, an author, food history obsessive, and the founder of groundbreaking New York City bar Booker & Dax, MOFAD was not only already built, it had already begun planning future exhibits that could tour the country and enchant the public.
But MOFAD had to first open, which it did earlier this week. The 3,000-square-foot space in the heart of Williamsburg (it used to house a parking garage), on which the museum holds a five-year lease, is far removed from the museums of elementary school class trips. "We wanted MOFAD to look like Willy Wonka meets the Eameses" says Peter Kim, the museum's executive director.
The launch has been promised ever since Arnold birthed a Kickstarter in 2013 to raise funds for a MOFAD pop-up. Those contributions helped build MOFAD's first exhibit, a pop-up called 'BOOM! The Puffing Gun and the Rise of Breakfast Cereal,' but Arnold wanted to establish a permanent brick-and-mortar location for his culinary deep dives.
"We are not a science museum," he told. "Science is just a lens. We are concept- and experience-driven, and we wanted to showcase the grand story of how our food system got to be the way it is."
The first exhibit, titled 'Flavor: Making It and Faking It,' is an expansive look at the modern age of the flavor industry, which began in the late 19th century when German chemists discovered vanillin, the primary chemical compound of the vanilla bean. When the MOFAD team first began to workshop ideas, which also included an opening exhibit on food on the battlefield or a look at food from farm to toilet (says Kim, "That didn't seem like the best first course"), the concept of flavor was much more broadly defined.