The Art of the Meal

Chef Eli Collins of Pub & Kitchen describes the ingredients in his still life and how they are used in his signature dish. Image by Mike Persico.

Students learn the relationship between food and art
from Philadelphia’s top chefs

As a new art teacher, it felt natural for Deva Watson, also a food runner at Zahav and a server at Pub & Kitchen, to bring the restaurant model of focus and discipline—what she calls a “quiet intensity”—to her classroom at the Southwest Leadership Academy Charter School. Watson’s connection with the tight-knit community of Philadelphia’s food industry is also part of what has made her crusade to expand the cultural, educational and culinary horizons of her students so successful. 

Watson was finding a disconnect between the study of many traditional art subjects and what her students could relate to, which was only compounded by the lack of funding for resources and materials. And so, drawing again on her own experiences outside of the classroom, she introduced them to food-inspired still life masterpieces.

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