The War Memorial hosts Cuisine d'Art, inviting guests to sample and learn about 18th century edible art

In partnership with the Detroit Institute of Arts, The War Memorial presents food historian Ivan Day

GROSSE POINTE FARMS, MICHIGAN — The War Memorial invites guests to travel back in time and dine like 18th century nobility during its unique experiential event, Cuisine d’Art. On Friday, February 3 at 6:30pm, attendees will enjoy a memorable evening in The War Memorial’s lakefront ballroom, experiencing edible high-art, period drinks, and a special talk with food historian Ivan Day.

Ivan Day, British author, sculptor, and leading expert in culinary history, has gained an international reputation for his research on British and European food, as well as being known for his gifts as a professional cook and confectioner. He is noted particularly for his recreations of meals and table settings. His work has been exhibited in many museums, including the Paul Getty Research Institute, Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of London, Fairfax House, the Bowes Museum, the Rothschild Collection, and, most recently, the Detroit Institute of Arts. Day’s monumental sugar sculpture, Palace of Circe, is currently on display as part of The Edible Monument: The Art of Food for Festivals at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Mr. Day’s talk, entitled Diary of a Food Historian, will speak to his methodology as a food historian, including anecdotal and entertaining information about his exhibits in Europe and the United States.

Alan Phipps Darr, Senior Curator of the European Art Department and Walter B. Ford II Family Curator of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts at the Detroit Institute of Arts, will also provide remarks at Cuisine d’Art.

In addition to the talks given by Ivan Day and Alan Phipps Darr, guests will enjoy small bites of 18th century delectables and a full cash bar featuring enticing period cocktails. General admission tickets are $25; VIP tickets are $170.

Guests who purchase VIP tickets will enjoy special valet parking, a hosted bar, and an exclusive afterparty — the Fireside Feast — a unique and intimate dining experience in The War Memorial’s historic Alger house. After the main event has concluded, guests will dine like royalty alongside Ivan Day and Alan Phipps Darr, enjoying a seven-course 18th century menu specially crafted by Frank Turner, Executive Chef at The War Memorial. Brilliant conversation, impeccable service, superb wine, and phenomenal period fare — all under the ambience of candles and firelight — will combine to form a truly memorable evening.

Tickets can be purchased by visiting, or calling 313.881.7511. The War Memorial is located at 32 Lake Shore Drive in Grosse Pointe Farms.

Partner programming

The Detroit Institute of Arts is presenting a series of related events in the days following Cuisine d’Art.

Eating the Edifice: Lecture by Ivan Day
Historian of Historic Food and Museums and Country House Consultant
Saturday, February 4, 2017; 2pm; Free with museum admission
DIA Marvin and Betty Danto Lecture Hall
5200 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48202

Sponsored by the Visiting Committee for European Sculpture & Decorative Arts
In this illustrated lecture, renowned British food historian Ivan Day outlines the evolution of sugar sculpture and other forms of table art from the Renaissance to the 18th century. Beginning with gilded sugar coins distributed at 15th-century Italian wedding feasts and continuing on to papal displays of sugar sculpture, he introduces the materials, equipment and methods used by past masters of such edible ephemera. For further information, call 313.833.1720.

Artist Demonstration: Ivan Day and the Edible Monument
Sunday, February 5, 2017; Noon—4pm; Free with museum admission
Detroit Institute of Arts
5200 Woodward Avenue, Detroit, MI 48202

Noted food historian and artist Ivan Day will use traditional tools and techniques to create a white gingerbread sculpture. Everyone is invited to take a close look into this unique art form and a limited number of participants will be able to create their own small sculpture to take home as supplies last. This program is in conjunction with the special exhibition The Edible Monument: The Art of Food for Festivals on display through April 16, 2017.

Lecture by Renowned Art Curator on New DIA Exhibit: Edible Monuments
February 7, 2017; 7pm; Free
Grosse Pointe Public Library Ewald Branch
15175 E. Jefferson, Grosse Pointe Park, MI 48230
Sponsored by the Friends of the Grosse Pointe Public Library

Using food as a medium for visual art did not begin with the rise of reality shows such as Cupcake Wars and Cake Boss. In fact, it’s been a practice since the 16th century when sculptures made of bread and cheese and monuments made of sugar and fruit were seen at street festivals and banquets across Europe. Dr. Alan Phipps Darr, Senior Curator of the European Art Department at the Detroit Institute of Arts, will give a lecture at the Ewald Branch of the Grosse Pointe Public Library on one of the DIA’s newest exhibits: The Edible Monument: The Art of Food for Festivals. This exhibit, consisting of 140 pieces from the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles and private collections, displays evidence of food being used to create artistic sculptures and centerpieces during the 16th to 19th centuries.

“I plan to present an overview of the exciting, first time ever, DIA exhibition on food as art,” stated Darr, curator of the exhibit. “Shedding light on a little known but fascinating and fun subject, it [the exhibit] also introduces several celebrated Early Modern cooks — the precursors to our ‘celebrity chefs,’ their cookbooks, recipes and drawings. This concept of these ‘festivals of food as art’ led to our Mardi Gras celebrated this and every February.”

Darr, who joined the DIA in 1981, has a BA from Northwestern University and MA and PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. Prior to coming to Detroit he also worked at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, both in European art curatorial departments. His vast experience led him to receive an endowed curatorial position, one of only two at the DIA, from the Andrew Mellon Foundation and Walter B. Ford II family.

Darr’s lecture will give its listeners a unique opportunity to learn about the prints, serving manuals, and rare books on display as well as the culture and art of European food sculpture. It is a night that promises to whet your appetite for not only art, but perhaps some historical cuisine as well!

About The War Memorial

The War Memorial, located on the shores of Lake Saint Clair in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, is a legacy-filled institution with a reenergized determination to emerge as a regional driver of arts, learning, patriotism, hospitality and connectivity. Situated on the grounds of the historic Alger Estate, The War Memorial serves an estimated 200,000 individuals with over 2,000 functions annually, including programs to honor veterans, engagement experiences for adults and children, community events and celebrations, and premier hospitality services. With new programming and innovative leadership, The War Memorial is a unique, dynamic and forward-thinking hub for southeast Michigan with a mission to be a patriotic, cultural, and community leader.

Media Contact

Brooks Hoste
Manager of Communications and Programming
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