When food meets art

Ahead of the National Gallery of Victoria opening its doors for a rare dining experience as part of Melbourne Food and Wine Festival and their Melbourne Now exhibition, the Festival sat down with Robyn Dold, Public Programs Manager at the National Gallery of Victoria to discuss the experience of art and food at Taste Now.


Q. Tell us a little bit about the Melbourne Now exhibition?

Melbourne Now celebrates the latest art, architecture, design, performance and cultural practice to reflect the complex creative landscape of Melbourne. This far-reaching exhibition across The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia and NGV International presents the various ways in which visual artists and creative practitioners profoundly contribute to the society in which we live, and to Melbourne as a city with a unique and dynamic cultural identity. With work by over 300 artists, and a suite of over 600 programs, there is something for everyone and we have had almost 400,000 visitors so far! And it’s all free! 

Q. What inspired you to work with Melbourne Food and Wine Festival to create the Taste Now event?

Melbourne Now celebrates creativity in our wonderful city, and we believe that Melbourne Food and Wine Festival does this very thing too. It seems like a great fit, and we believe that the huge number of people who have been to visit Melbourne Now will also jump at the chance to come to Taste Now! 

Q. Some of Melbourne’s hottest chefs, including Adriano Zumbo, (Zumbo) and Riccardo Momesso (Valentino) are taking inspiration from this exhibition to prepare dishes matched to selected artworks.  How did you come to choose the artworks that will be showcased in this event?

We wanted the event to draw a link between great local contemporary art and the idea of food as art, as imagined by some of Melbourne’s best chefs. The event will literally be a progressive feast, stopping at key installations on each site (NGV International and NGV Australia). The works selected are those we thought would lend themselves to an event of this nature, and to the complete creative interpretation of the chefs involved. For example, our location to view On Top of the World: Flags for Melbourne will provide guests with an incredible view of the NGV and the installation while they enjoy the related course, and; the icing artists Hotham Street Ladies’ installation makes a perfect ‘dessert’ stop. 

Q. The Hotham Street Ladies are known for pushing the boundaries. What themes do you think Adriano Zumbo will draw from in the creation of his dish? 

This work is open to such creative interpretation, I have no idea where Adriano will go with it! But the pieces (3 works on display in the foyer at NGV Australia) challenge traditional concepts of the domestic scene we are used to seeing in art, and embraces themes of home life, feminism and craft. And of course, it is made entirely out of icing, so I would expect to see colour and sugar in Adriano’s culinary response to the works.

Q. We’ve just taken the chefs on tour through the Melbourne Now exhibition, and we’re excited about what the chefs might come up with for the event, what are you most looking forward to?

I’m looking forward to seeing how the chefs can respond to the works and their themes in the form of food, as an art form in itself. We talk about the works of art in the context of the artist’s vision or comment so it will be really interesting to see a completely new creative take on these issues.

Q. What is a must visit in the Melbourne Now exhibition?

This is an exhibition of highlights, and it’s really difficult to pick just a few. But some of my personal favourites include the contemporary jewellery display and Patrick Pound’s Gallery of Air, both on Level Three at NGV International, and for a bit of artistic fun, you won’t want to miss a dance on Darren Sylvester’s floor, or a play in our very own Trugo-GoGo gallery, designed by PHOOEY Architects and Tim Fleming.


Taste Now, National Gallery of Victoria, Friday 28 February to Sunday 2 March, various times. Further event details available on the MFWF website.

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