Five Palm Beach-area chefs create artistic dishes inspired by works from local museums

Photography by Libby Volgyes


Robert Cottingham, Bacon and Eggs

Bacon and Eggs, Robert Cottingham, 1972 (Boca Raton Museum of Art)

Bacon and Eggs (Pictured above)
Executive Chef Gustavo Calderon, 3800 Ocean, Singer Island

Classic American Twinkie stuffed with smoked bacon and caramelized onion jam garnished with poached asparagus, roasted cherry tomatoes, and crispy pork belly; poached egg with white truffle.

“The reds, blues, and whites of the barber shop served as the base colors I wanted to come through in my dish. From there, I incorporated every color in the painting through the dots to contrast the rectangular shaping of the painting, using vegetable coloring and sour cream to achieve the perfect tones. The idea was to let the imagination and vivid colors move around the dish, almost like a path along the white background.”



A Terrine of Uncle Harley's

A Terrine of Uncle Harley’s
Executive Chef Rick Mace, Café Boulud, Palm Beach

Palm Grove, photographer unknown, circa 1880s (Historical Society of Palm Beach County)

Palm Grove, photographer unknown, circa 1880s (Historical Society of Palm Beach County)

Terrine of chicken confit, country ham, and rabbit with beans, tomatoes, eggplant, hearts of palm, and coconut chips

“This photo shows some of Palm Beach’s first settlers, including Hiram Hammon, known as ‘Uncle Harley.’ We made this dish using meats we thought he may have raised on his farm and vegetables he was known to grow. Hammon also is said to be responsible for the 20,000 coconut palms planted in the area, so we used coconut milk in the terrine and made salty coconut chips as a fun twist.”



Crispy Chicken Thigh with Turnips and Apples

Crispy Chicken Thigh with Turnips and Apples
Executive Chef/Co-Owner Jordan Lerman, Jardin, West Palm Beach

Turnip, Shibata Zeshin

Turnip, Shibata Zeshin, late nineteenth century (Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens)

Pan-roasted chicken, Swank Farms heirloom turnips, apples, black garlic, chicken jus

“To represent the philosophy of Japanese artwork and cooking, I created and plated a dish that is very clean in both flavor and presentation. I used flavors like black garlic that represent the region and highlighted light colors with drastic contrast in flavor and color. The dish is plated in a clean white fashion and shape similar to the fan on which the painting is depicted.”



Red Wine Braised Octopus, Joe Bonavita Jr.

Red Wine Braised Octopus
Executive Chef Joe Bonavita Jr., 50 Ocean, Delray Beach

Nature Morte Portugaise Art

Nature Morte Portugaise, Robert Delaunay, 1916 (Norton Museum of Art)

Spanish octopus, roasted heirloom tomatoes, nasturtium, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, black garlic, pistachios

“I was inspired by all the bright colors and shapes the artist used. And since this painting was done during Delaunay’s Portugal years, I incorporated ingredients commonly used there.”



Heade's Garden, Earth and Sugar

Heade’s Garden
Janderyn Makris, Victoria DeBeer, Desiree Carrodeguas, Earth and Sugar, West Palm Beach

Four Cherokee Roses, Martin Johnson Heade

Four Cherokee Roses, Martin Johnson Heade, 1883-1895 (Henry Morrison Flagler Museum)

Vanilla bean cake layered with Swiss meringue, chocolate fondant

“We took the deep colors and shadows behind the florals in the painting and made that the focus of our design. We crafted a vanilla bean cake layered with Swiss meringue and covered in a chocolate fondant textured to resemble the bark of a tree. The base is also made of fondant, which we dusted and painted a beautiful teal color to match the fabric of the tablecloth. Then we added the gum paste florals to tie it all together.”