French chocolatier Shalini Latour, founder of Chocolats Latour
and co-owner of Northside’s sweet shop The Chocolate Bee
, faced a conundrum when she learned of the theme of The Carnegie
’s upcoming event, The Art of Food
“This year’s theme is the '50s, the atomic age,” Latour says. “Thinking about TV dinners, The Joy of Cooking
— it was actually a hard theme for me because this is contrary to what I usually do.”
Latour has been in the chocolate business for seven years, and in that time, she’s been recognized for her commitment to locally sourced, fresh, natural ingredients. Her interpretation of 1950s cuisine was that everything was mechanized for ease and convenience, which is in complete contrast to her general culinary outlook and handmade chocolates. So, she partnered with Kate Cook, garden manager of Carriage House Farm
, to accept the challenge posed by The Carnegie.
“The two of us sat down and brainstormed,” Latour says. “We’re going to be making Atomic Truffles, which will be real spicy, made with scorpion peppers Kate grew.” The truffles will be molded in the shape of atomic bombs. Latour is also planning to use unusual ingredients to make a chocolate that she might name "Radioactive Sludge."
The 11th annual Art of Food event will feature a total of 20 local chefs creating dishes around the 1950s theme, and guests will enjoy art exhibitions and performances that will bring the '50s to life. This is the second year that The Art of Food will be stretched over two nights, with the first night reserved for an intimate-style dinner. (Space is limited and reservations are required.)
"One reason I really like this event is because every year there is a different theme and it pushes us to try new things maybe I wouldn’t think of otherwise," Latour says. “People are there to enjoy themselves and eat good food, so people are laughing and joking and enjoying music. It’s just a big party.”
The Art of Food takes place 6-9 p.m. on Feb. 23 and 24. Tickets for Thursday night are $100 ($75 for members); Friday night tickets are $50 ($35 for members). Tickets are available through The Carnegie's box office, open noon-5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, by phone at 859-957-1940 or online