It's one of the better high school art class assignments: Listen to a chef describe his food, and then make a plate to show it off. Go eat that food while the plates are being judged, and come away with a practical analysis of form and function, played out in a cozy Fan district restaurant.
Art teacher Elizabeth Scolaro led her 21 Benedictine cadets through this exercise during the past few weeks, working with Chef Ethan Vaughan of Avalon. He came to the school's ceramics studio to talk about appetizers — scallops, gnocchi, beets, chorizo — and how the restaurant usually serves them. Each student picked a food and created a pair of plates on which to present it, keeping in mind the art-class principles of function, durability, beauty and texture, as well as the chef's desire to enhance the food's appeal.
The students came up with a cupboard-full of dishes as varied as the ingredients each would hold — some too small or dark to show the food to full advantage, others more cumbersome than practical. The project wasn't as easy as it sounded, but winners emerged, dinner was savored and the lesson became an eye-opener. Most of the students are looking more closely at their food and how it's plated, and appreciating the work of not only the potter but also the chef. And certainly the teacher.
Red bowl with melted glass side design for gnocchi: Brendan Gallagher (1st place)
Yellow dish with red stained glass “beets” illusion: Nick Valentine (2nd place)
Sloping speckled green-glazed dish chorizo risotto: Tucker Warren (3rd place)
Dark blue tape-glazed bowl for chorizo: Kendall Squire (4th place)
Blue folded-corner dish for scallops: Christopher Toler (5th place)
Pale yellow and green bowl, cut at an angle for beets: Matthew Atkinson (Chef's choice)
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