Museum of Art brings Halloween to the dinner table

Museum of Art brings Halloween to the dinner table

JACKSON, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from the Mississippi Museum of Art.

From October 15-17, the Mississippi Museum of Art (the Museum) embraces the chilling Halloween season, transforming the on-site restaurant for three-days-only to feature palate-pleasing epicurean nightmares from the mind of Executive Chef and Culinary Curator Nick Wallace. Part of Wallace's monthly 'sipp Sourced pop up series, showcasing all-new menus sourcing product from Mississippi purveyors every third Thursday through third Saturday, October's affair is themed "Scary Good Creepy Cuts."

The final details of the menu are still coagulating, but planned are dishes highlighting some of the food world's most humble – and often feared – ingredients. Wallace, whose culinary worldview is steeped both in his blue-collar rural upbringing and his classical training, is experimenting with dishes featuring chicken livers and gizzards, pig ears, pork cheeks, and turkey necks. "Oxtails from the Crypt," an early crowd favorite, uses slow cooking and inspired seasoning to transform yet another lesser-used cut. While some of these products are outcast from mainstream fare, Wallace resolves to elevate them to satisfy the most discerning of diners. He is also incorporating more approachable items with a Halloween twist, like a "beet-blood" risotto that uses the Mississippi root to create a beautiful scene of vegan-friendly gore. Other vegetarian and vegan options will also be available.

But his menu is not just for show or shock. There is something deeper at work that is core to Wallace's mission as a chef. The menu is connected to noted Southern traditions of using any and all available ingredients as a means of survival.

"Historically, some of the best food has come from working class families," said Wallace. "Many times, these family cooks only had access to cheaper cuts. But that is where creativity came in. People took things like pig feet and changed them into something wonderful. We can all easily go and grab ribeye and tenderloin which requires very little invention. The harder thing, from a culinarian's standpoint, is to use a product that you really have to put deep love into. Many times these cuts and ingredients are overlooked. But they should be embraced."

This month's pop up dining experience in another prime example Wallace's expanded position at the Museum as both Executive Chef and Culinary Curator. Surrounded by the visual art stories of the state, he translates shared heritage into bit-size vignettes. He does so not with pretense, but with wit and humor. As an unnamed Museum staff person commented upon hearing Wallace's October plans: "Grab your (pitch)forks. He's created a monster."

'sipp Sourced with Chef Nick Wallace is available Thursday, October 15 – Saturday, October 17. Lunch is served 11 AM – 2 PM, and a dinner service is offered on Thursday from 5:30 PM – until in conjunction with Museum After Hours, a celebratory community event held at the Museum each third Thursday evening. 'sipp Sourced is sponsored by Capital City Beverages.

Before and after the 'sipp Sourced ephemeral menu comes and goes, diners can enjoy Wallace's ongoing offerings at The Palette Cafe at the Museum. Lunch is served Tuesday - Saturday, 11 AM - 2 PM.

The Mississippi Museum of Art's mission is to "engage Mississippians in the visual arts." The Museum is located at 380 South Lamar Street in Jackson. Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 AM to 5 PM and Sunday, noon to 5 PM. The Museum is closed Monday. For more information about the Mississippi Museum of Art's exhibitions, programs, and special events, please call 601-960-1515 or 1-866-VIEW ART (843-9278), or visit

The Mississippi Museum of Art and its programs are sponsored in part by the city of Jackson and the Jackson Convention & Visitors Bureau. Support is also provided in part by funding from the Mississippi Arts Commission, a state agency, and in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Copyright 2015 WDAM. All rights reserved.