Is it art or is it dessert?
The answer is yes, says Kevin Lasko, executive chef at Park Avenue Winter, the New York restaurant that changes its name, menu and décor with the seasons. (We're guessing it's Park Avenue Spring by now.) The subject is the restaurant's "Volcano Flambe."
Lasko is making a name for himself by treating his dining customers to multi-sensory experiences. This year he’s collaborating with artists to bring edible art into the restaurant. He started in January with the flaming dessert designed in partnership with Serbian performance artist Marina Abramovic.
Diners who select the dessert are given headsets to listen to a recording of Abramovic describing the mental and sensory aspects of the Volcano Flambe.
Abramovic gained some notoriety during her recent exhibit at The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in which she simply sat facing the museum visitors, staring off into the cosmos.
The dessert itself is dark chocolate ice cream, with almond sponge cake and banana mousse covered in Swiss meringue. It’s surrounded with dark chocolate crumbs and topped with spun sugar, then set on fire with dark rum. Before it's set ablaze, the creation kind of resembles the planet Saturn sitting atop a snow-covered mountain.
According to Chris Michaud, writing for Reuters, Lasko plans to collaborate with a different artist each season of this year to create a new dish. Other artists lined up to contribute include Janine Antoni, Paul Ramirez Jonas and Michael Rakowitz.
Read the Reuters interview with Kevin Lasko, which includes the recipe for Volcano Flambe (no headset required).
Photo by Stephen Lovekin, Getty Images