Contact: Yael Raviv, 917.720.5706
yael @umamifestival.com

March 31st , 2008

Umami*: food and art festival

April 8 through18, 2008 @ Roulette, 20 Greene Street, between Grand and Canal, in Soho

New York, NY. New York City is full of exciting dining establishments. It is also a center for the arts.
Usually the culinary world remains firmly separated from the artistic one: no food inside the theater please! Umami: food and art festival brings these two worlds together. In the tradition of Medieval Banquets Umami encourages the audience to indulge all the senses, to touch the art and play with their food.

Umami kicks off on Tuesday, April 8th with Orphic Memory Sausage by the artists Mimi Oka and Doug Fitch (repeated Wednesday, April 9th): bring anything (from shoes to dried fish) that evokes a memory of place or time or experience that you wish to transform into sausage and help smash, chop and pulverize everything, mixing all of it into a great pulp to be stuffed into pig intestines and hung to dry. Everyone will be able to take home a link of collective memory sausage at the end of the day. The musician Fast Forward will perform Musique a'la Mode on Friday April 11th and 12th. This new composition is based solely on kitchen implements and foodstuff! On Monday April14th and 15th the festival presents a variety of Gastronomic Interactive Installations: these include Annie Lanzillotto's Rule 23 bringing back New York City's street peddlers and Miwa Koizumi's NY flavor Ice cream stand, a screening of artists' food films and a display of artists' cookbooks. The festival's Gala event and silent auction takes place Thursday, April 17th followed by a performances of Ensemble 209, an Israeli performance group led by the artist Tamar Raban. Ensemble 209 will present their piece Cookies once again on the festival's final night, Friday, April 18th.

Each performance is introduced by a culinary event such as water tasting, panel discussion of artists' cookbooks, food/art roundtable, wine tasting, or cooking-art challenge. Some of the most exciting chefs, food scholars and other food professionals working in New York City today will take part in these events. All performances and events will take place at Roulette, 20 Greene Street, in Soho.

Umami was created as a meeting ground to people who use food as a medium and who present their audience with a multi-sensory experience in the dining room, or gallery space. The festival's objective is to open avenues of collaboration between these artists and culinary professionals. Choosing food as a common thread allows Umami to present new ways to look at art and to integrate art into daily life. Umami offers an environment for non-commercial, ephemeral art and encourage artists who work with non-traditional mediums and forms.

"By bringing these artists together with culinary professionals through panel discussions and workshops, we wish to expose them to new audiences while stirring a debate around the role of food and food professionals in our society. Our intention is to use art to increase awareness of the power food has to influence and shape both diners and cooks."

Umami's goal is to establish the festival as an annual event, which targets changing concerns at the intersection of food and art. This is a non-for-profit venture, sponsored by Roulette Intermedium, Inc. All proceeds from the festival go to support participating artists and educational projects.
Umami is engaged in a variety of educational projects aimed at both children and culinary students. In these workshops on food and art, Umami uses art to uncover new ways of thinking about food in our society.

The festival benefits from the aid and support of a variety of food related organizations and businesses such as The James Beard Foundation, The Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health Department at New York University, The Fales Library at New York University, the Experimental Cuisine Collective, Franklin Furnace, Murray's Cheese Shop, Dessert Studio, the Institute for Culinary Education and others.

Additional information and tickets to performances and events can be found on the festival's website www.umamifestival.org

* Umami is the fifth taste sensed by the human tongue (in addition to sweet, salty, bitter and sour). Umami is a Japanese word meaning "savory" or "meaty" and applies to a sensation common in meats, cheese and other protein-rich foods or to "earthy" foods such as mushrooms and soy sauce.