Have Your Cake and Learn about It, Too: The Flavor Museum
Play with your food.
A new museum in Brooklyn, New York, will soon give visitors the chance to spin their own hand-pulled Chinese noodles, watch what happens when a human body digests a sandwich, and explore food and drink in ways we’ve never known before. Peter Kim, the museum’s executive director, says their goal is to use food to “engage the senses.” Our mouths are watering. Bring it on.
The Puffing Gun and the MOFAD
The museum, called the Museum of Food and Drink (MOFAD), first hit the streets in 2013 with a mobile public exhibit called “BOOM! The Puffing Gun and the Rise of Cereal.” The exhibit featured an industrial cereal puffing gun that weighed over 3,200 pounds; the machine heated and pressurized ingredients until they burst into pieces of cereal. You can read more about the cereal gun here. People came in droves to see this exciting machine in 2013; it will be featured as one of the installations at the MOFAD.
Food Museum’s Humble Beginnings
Peter Kim and Dave Arnold (MOFAD’s founder) started churning up ideas for the museum over ten years ago. Kim, as reported by the Times, felt so strongly about MOFAD that he quit his job and began committing himself to it full-time. He said that in 2012 even, he was “doing Google searches for ‘How do you start a museum?’”
Food Chefs & Experts Team Up
As the word about MOFAD started to spread, Kim and Arnold were able to pull together an all-star advisory board to continue brainstorming Some of the most illustrious food experts in the country joined, including the food-science writer, Harold McGee and the Croc-wearing celebrity chef, Mario Batali. McGee, Batali, and others discussed GMOs, food labeling, and other hotly debated topics to decide which exhibits would be best for the museum. Some of their debates and discussions, as well as links to other readings can be found here.
Arnold’s approach to the discussions is similar to his approach to the museum. He opened one of their meetings by saying that, in the interest of “keeping [the meeting] on a more lively basis, we’re going to let people kind of give and take and talk to each other like they’re human beings.” People in the audience were laughing when he said it, but MOFAD hopes to reinvent our concept of “museum.” Its conversational, responsive environment will make it one of the most interactive museums ever.
Funding Dilemma From the Food Industry
As is the case with many (okay, just about all) start-up projects, MOFAD faced the the ever-daunting challenge of raising money. NPR said in 2014 that the museum would need about $1 million to get started and $25 million to fully complete the museum. However, Arnold and his team did not want to accept funding from what they called “Big Food,” as they felt those companies already had too great an impact on our perspective on food and drink. Infiniti, the car manufacturer, provided a grant that paid for the lease on their building. Arnold says he plans to expand the museum and outgrow the current location by 2019.
Get Yourself a Golden Ticket
The museum will open in just a few weeks, on October 28. Check them out at 62 Bayard Street, Brooklyn, NY, just a ten-minute walk from the Bedford Avenue Subway Station. Get your ticket here.
What exhibit would you want to see at the MOFAD? Write a suggestion or two in the comments section below! If you’d like to get involved further, here’s a link to give a donation or volunteer for MOFAD!