Art Come Alive: A Dining Experience with Botticelli


All photos are courtesy of Bruce Silcox, @1eye_cat_manq 

On a chilly December night, attendees ascended the steps of the grand Minneapolis Institute of Art for a dining experience, unlike anything Minneapolis has tasted before. Mollie Windmiller, our Owner + Creative Director, had the opportunity to attend the most recent Botticelli Italian Renaissance Wedding Feast as a guest of our friend and studio neighbor, Jason Berke of Warmhouse Story and the Atmospherist for this unforgettable night.

While art is meant to be admired, Mia also believes in the power of experiences among art, which is precisely why they’ve created this incredible series of dinners throughout 2022. Modeled around their visiting exhibits, these dining experiences are meant to savor the flavors, colors, and craftsmanship of a period, giving attendees an enhanced way to understand the art.

This evening began with a private curator-led tour of Mia’s special exhibition, “Botticelli and Renaissance Florence: Masterworks from the Uffizi,” and continued with a multi-course dinner and wine pairings in Mia’s beautiful second-floor corridor.

The creative masterminds that brought each element of this experience to life for the dinner series features abundant dishes created by James Beard award-nominated chef Jamie Malone of Paris Dining Club, desserts hand-crafted by world-renowned, award-winning pastry chef John Kraus (founder of Patisserie 46 and Rose Street Patisserie), wine pairings curated by acclaimed sommelier Bill Summerville, and a sumptuous table designed by atmospherist Jason Berke of Warmhouse Story. Talk about a dream team!

The Food

Inspired by a traditional Italian wedding feast, the menu crafted by Jamie Malone was infused with details from the Renaissance period in Florence, including dishes and flavors that would have been common during this time. She shares, “I am inspired by the history of Renaissance art and culture, and in particular the rituals of gathering and celebration during this period. The use of food as a means to bring strangers together and to foster a shared sense of joy is powerful, and the opportunity to create this magic at Mia is extraordinarily meaningful for me as a chef.”

After an abundance of courses, we were greeted with a flourish of handcrafted pastries and desserts to enjoy. John Kraus, founder of Patisserie 46 and Rose Street Patisserie, explains how he took inspiration, “…from the grand Renaissance table, adorned with food and wine, [it is] truly be a culinary evening to remember and the opportunity to revive classic confections is a unique opportunity that we, as Pastry Chefs, find truly exciting.”

The Wine

Italians are known for their expertly grown grapes and award-winning wines, and sommelier Bill Summerville was more than ready for a challenge. He shared, “Inspiring culture through the marriage of art, food and wine in this private and intimate setting is incredibly unique and exciting. And working with Jamie, John, Jason and Mia makes it that much more amazing.”

After a year on the Tuscan Coast traveling to far-flung wine regions, his adventures have had a major impact on his Euro-centric palate. He doesn’t make wine lists as much as he creates collections of wine, he really wants you to drink, to take a chance on. We can attest that he did NOT disappoint!

A glimpse of Botticelli’s work that inspired the evening.

The Experience

As we were seated at the table, there was a color-coordination of all of the guests’ place settings, linens, and hand-sealed menus to coordinate with the art their seat was closest to. Jason Berke explains his creative process in creating this tablescape, saying, “It was a thrill to create an environment where the palettes and movement of these incredible works of art leap from the walls and onto the table. Down to the smallest details, I hope that the evening provides a delightful escape to a different sense of time and place.”

Having opened with a private guided tour of the exhibit, we were attuned to these small details early on and appreciated them even more after learning about their significance within Botticelli’s work. Plus, it was a thrill to see how each element came to life after seeing Jason work for hours on this project in the neighboring studio!

The evening was a once-in-a-lifetime culinary opportunity, and we were thrilled to hear that Mia will be hosting an encore of this dinner in 2023. Tickets are on sale now for the January 4th event, and there are more to come in 2023 with upcoming special exhibits!

Emma is a writer living in Minneapolis. When she’s not checking out a new brewery with friends or blasting Taylor Swift in her car, you can find her dreaming up ideas as the Brand + Editorial Manager at LAB.