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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New Roots: Home Grown Institute offers skills, motivations for sustainable life

Imagine an entire weekend dedicated to teaching sustainable skills of all kinds—backyard chicken raising, beekeeping, composting, gardening, healthy cooking and home energy efficiency. The Home Grown Institute, whose inaugural conference is this March, has planned to do just this. The conference is tailored to provide attendees with the skill sets and motivation to transform their own lives through workshops, tours and hands-on experience.

Sarah Gabriel, founder and Wyncote native, envisions the HGI not as an educational vehicle, but as a “container” through which community partners—Weavers Way Co-op, Pennsylvania Horticultural Society and Friends of the Wissahickon are already on board along with more than two dozen others—can instruct individuals in the types of methods and approaches they can carry back to their own communities.

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