Festival

A full day of free activities and experiences celebrating food history for visitors of all ages.

Saturday, October 28, 2017 • 10 a.m.–5:30 p.m.

About | First Floor | Second Floor | Third Floor Outside


ABOUT

The Smithsonian Food History Weekend Festival is a free day of hands-on learning, live demonstrations, talks, and stories exploring the past, present and future of food and community in America. Talented chefs, local organizations, experts, museum curators, students, and more will be on hand to spark conversation, lead activities, and dig into food history with museum visitors of all ages. All activities are free.

One important thing to know about The Festival: there are no food tastings available at this festival; just food history! There are however, lots of things to do and if you do get hungry while visiting, the museum has a cafe and cafeteria that will be featuring special dishes connecting to the theme of the 2017 Smithsonian Food History Weekend: Many Flavors, One Nation.

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LIVE COOKING DEMONSTRATIONS

Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West

Catch live cooking on stage at the museum’s demonstration kitchen as chefs, historians, and homecooks share their tips, stories, or family traditions behind the recipes.

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Maricel Presilla: Peppers of the Americas
10:30 AM–11:00 AM

Maricel will demonstrate the history, uses, and impact of “the remarkable capsicums that forever changed flavor” with recipes for chile and cacao blends and condiments. A book signing of Peppers of the Americas will follow the demo.

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Simon Majumdar: Life Saving Dahl
11:45 AM
–12:15 PM

Learn about the dish that started Simon Majumdar’s world travels and eventual journey to American citizenship. A book signing of his latest book, Fed, White, and Blue, will follow the demo.

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Sarah Lohman: Sriracha - One of the Eight Flavors of American Cuisine
1:15 PM–1:45 PM

How did Sriracha transform from Vietnamese spicy sauce to a fully American-made food trend? Culinary historian Sarah Lohman will tell the story and make a Thai omelet to showcase the sauce. A book signing of Eight Flavors will follow the demo.

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Tim Ma: Beyond the Chinese Family Restaurant 
2:30 PM–3:00 PM

Tim Ma now runs four restaurants, including award-winning Kyirisan in DC, but he used to think he would leave the family business. He will join his Uncle Paul, of the former Paul Ma’s China Kitchen in New York, to discuss how family history is built from one generation to the next.

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Sheldon Simeon: Many Flavors of Hawai'i
3:45 PM–4:15 PM

See Top Chef Season 10 “Fan Favorite” Sheldon Simeon cook Chicken Hekka, a popular dish throughout the Islands, as we discuss how Hawaiian food has been shaped by centuries of international migration.

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THE KIDS' TABLE

Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West

Image of a boyA place for young budding chefs to participate alongside the cooking demos while expanding their chef skills by touching, smelling, looking, and doing. Open during each cooking demo time listed above; free to attend.

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SPARK!LAB INVENTION ACTIVITIES

Spark!Lab, 1 West

Image of a child and woman at a table

A space for inventive minds ages 6 to 12 to invent and solve problems, from how food is grown, harvested, transported and distributed, cooking food, as well as eating and preserving food. 

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COMMON THREADS HANDS-ON ACTIVITIES

Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West

Common Threads logo

Come explore cuisine from around the world with Common Threads! Children and families can explore Common Bytes, our digital nutrition education platform, to play interactive, recipe-based games.

Kids will learn about nutrition and cooking while discovering culturally diverse meals and snacks. They can also participate in a food science experiment that highlights the power of produce.

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DEEP DISH DIALOGUES

Warner Bros Theater, 1 Center

Join historians, chefs, restaurateurs, and a journalist as they dig deeply into cuisines and stories of America. See below of the full schedule and participants of each dialogue. Please note: Free registration for the Deep Dish Dialogues is recommended due to limited seating. 

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DEEP DISH DIALOGUE 1
THE CULINARY DIPLOMACY PROJECT
10:45 AM–11:45 AM

Join us for a discussion exploring how food has the power to bring about better mutual understanding among people of different cultures, through the sharing of culinary traditions.  

A new soft power, culinary diplomacy has the ability to bridge conflicts in situations where traditional forms of diplomacy have been ineffective. At a time when the global community is struggling with a multitude of problems and ideological divides, food can act as the great common denominator.  Learn how three powerhouse chefs have traveled the world, using food to connect and communicate, and how they see the role food can play in the future of diplomacy, both abroad and right here at home in the U.S.

Featuring:

  • Chef Rock Harper, president of RockSolid Creative Food Group, host of the podcast The Chef Rock Xperiment and Shift Drink, and Hell's Kitchen season three winner
  • Chef Frank Ruta, executive chef of Mirabelle and former White House chef
  • Chef Art Smith, chef of Chef Art Smith's Homecomin' and appearances on Top Chef and Top Chef Masters
  • Lauren Bernstein (moderator), founder and CEO of the Culinary Diplomacy Project

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DEEP DISH DIALOGUE 2
SIDEDOOR: LIVE!
12:30 PM–1:30 PM

Join host Tony Cohn and guests for a live performance of the Smithsonian’s acclaimed podcast Sidedoor. We'll explore what happens when chefs use food to tell a story and how the right meal can change the way people think about the world. Featured guests include:

  • Chef Jerome Grant from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • Maricel Presilla, the White House’s first Latin American woman guest chef

What is Sidedoor? More than 154 million treasures fill the Smithsonian’s vaults, but where public view ends, Sidedoor begins. With the help of biologists, artists, historians, archaeologists, zookeepers, and astrophysicists, host Tony Cohn sneaks listeners through Smithsonian’s side door to search for stories that can’t be found anywhere else.

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DEEP DISH DIALOGUE 3
A CONVERSATION WITH JONATHAN GOLD
2:00 PM
3:00 PM

Join us for a journey with Pulitzer Prize-winning food writer Jonathan Gold into the dynamic neighborhoods and culinary cultures of greater Los Angeles. Moderated by Francis Lam, Host of public radio's The Splendid Table.

Jonathan Gold is the restaurant critic for the Los Angeles Times. He won the Pulitzer Prize in criticism in 2007 and was a finalist again in 2011. A Los Angeles native, he began writing the Counter Intelligence column for the L.A. Weekly in 1986, wrote about death metal and gangsta rap for Rolling Stone and Spin among other places, and is delighted that he has managed to forge a career out of the professional eating of tacos. Gold was the subject of Laura Gabbert's 2016 documentary City of Gold.

Francis Lam is the host of public radio’s The Splendid Table, editor-at-large at Clarkson Potter, and serves on the board of the Southern Foodways Alliance. His writing and editing have won numerous awards from the James Beard Foundation and the International Association of Culinary Professionals. In past lives, he was a columnist for the New York Times Magazine, a judge on Top Chef Masters, the features editor at Gilt Taste, a senior writer at Salon.com, and a contributing editor at Gourmet.

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DEEP DISH DIALOGUE 4
DIASPORA CHEFS
3:30 PM–4:30 PM

Chefs are the vital center of the discussion about the kitchen as the new venue for foreign policy. Yet they are often a hidden voice, a behind-the-scenes influence, in the kitchen creating and cooking the food that tells the story of their culture and their journey from different lands.

We will explore the way diaspora cuisines have enriched the foodways of Washington in a conversation with a selection of chefs who can speak as entrepreneurs and gastro-diplomats for their counties about how they are using their food to help integrate into our diverse culinary culture.

Featuring:

  • Sileshi Alifom, Owner, DAS Ethiopian Restaurant
  • Chef Benjamin Velasquez, Food Services Director, Carlos Rosario Center Culinary Arts Program
  • Noobtsaa Philip Vang, Owner, Foodhini,
  • Johanna Mendelson-Forman (moderator), Adjunct Professor, American University, creator of Conflict Cuisine© and Distinguished Fellow at the Stimson Center

Note: Due to unforseen circumstances, Chef Mem will no longer be able to join this conversation. 

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FESTIVAL BOOK SIGNINGS

Various locations, 1 West and 1 Center

Meet and have books signed by various participants of the Festival. Times and locations indicated below: 
Peppers of the Americas book cover

Maricel Presilla
11:00 AM11:30 AM
Wallace H. Coulter Plaza, 1 West

  • Peppers of the Americas
  • Gran Cocina Latina
  • The New Taste of Chocolate
Healthy Comfort Cook Book cover

Art Smith
11:45 AM
12:45 PM
1 East

  • Art Smith's Healthy Comfort 
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Rock Harper
11:45 AM
12:45 PM
1 East

  • 44 Things Parents Should Know about Healthy Cooking for Kids 
Fed White and Blue book cover

Simon Majumdar
12:15 PM–12:45PM

Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West

  • Fed, White, and Blue: Finding America with My Fork
  • Eat My Globe
France is a Feast book cover

Alex Prud'homme and Katie Pratt
12:30 PM–1:15 PM

Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West

  • France is a Feast: The Photographic Journey of Paul and Julia Child
  • The French Chef in America
     
Eight Flavors book coverSarah Lohman
1:45 PM-2:15 PM
Wallace H. Coulter Performance Plaza, 1 West
  • Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine

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SECOND FLOOR

Agriculture on the Move | Business of Chocolate | Harvest for the Table | Puppet Show

AGRICULTURE ON THE MOVE!

Flag Hall, 2 Center

Image of a man on a tractor

Explore where some of our favorite foods really come from, how farmers work in America today, and the cultural connections between people and food. Learn how plants, animals, and people moved together around the globe to shape America’s agricultural and culinary landscape.

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THE BUSINESS OF CHOCOLATE: FROM BEAN TO DRINK

Flag Hall, 2 Center

Image of women and a child at a table

Through demonstrations of colonial chocolate making, gain a deeper understanding of the role of chocolate in American history and American life. Explore how the cacao science is impacting the future of chocolate production around the globe.

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HARVEST FOR THE TABLE: WHEAT TO FLOUR

Flag Hall, 2 Center

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How have food and farming changed over the centuries? Explore the history of how wheat was grown, threshed, and ground to flour with technological changes over time. Try milling wheat into flour yourself! Historic recipes from Fannie Farmer’s first cookbook show how home cooks selected and used wheat flour in the kitchen.

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Puppet Shows with artist Rosalia Torres-Weiner 

Unity Square, 2 West 
10:00 AM
–12:00 PM

Open suitcase with paper puppets

Catch two puppet shows by artist Rosalia Torres-Weiner. The Magic Kite, which explores what happens when a young boy discovers a magic kite - el papalote mágico - and is determined to use it bring his family back together. Kitchen Stories, tells the story of Pablo, a young immigrant man working kitchen of a famous celebrity chef and what it truly means to work from farm to table. 

Rosalia Torres-Weiner is an artist, activist and community leader in Charlotte, NC. Her art captures the themes, colors and rich symbolism of her native home of Mexico. In 2010, Rosalia shifted the focus of her work from commercial art to art activism. Her work is featured in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum. Rosalia uses her art to document social conditions, and to raise awareness about issues that are affecting immigrant communities such as family separation, access to public education, racism and moving beyond common stereotypes. Her story “The Magic Kite” was adapted by The Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, and is also performed as part of her “Suitcase Stories” one-woman show. 

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THIRD FLOOR

FOOD HISTORY UP CLOSE: RESEARCH & OBJECTS OUT OF STORAGE

3 West

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Curators display rarely seen collections objects and pieces that tell stories about the history of food and migrations of people in American history.

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OUTSIDE

Garden Tours | Flavoring America | Seed Saving

 

COMMON GROUND: OUR AMERICAN GARDEN TOURS

West Terrace (outside), 2 West from 11:00 AM2:00 PM

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Tour Smithsonian Gardens’ newest garden that shares the stories of plants and how they are important to people in this country. Tours begin on the West Terrace of the National Museum of American History.

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FLAVORING AMERICA

West Terrace (outside), 2 West from 11:00 AM2:00 PM

Three people standing around a table

Learn about herbs and spices used in our culturally diverse menus that can be grown in your backyard.

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SEED SAVING

West Terrace (outside), 2 West from 11:00 AM2:00 PM

Two people at a table

Looking for a way to save money and still have a bountiful garden? Collecting seeds from your favorite plants is the perfect answer. We’ll show you how. After you have learned what a seed is, make a colorful seed packet and fill it with heirloom seeds to grow in your garden.

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If you would like to support the 2017 Smithsonian Food History Weekend or for more information on how to get involved, please contact Kari Fantasia, Deputy Director for External Affairs, at 202-633-3302 or FantasiaKa@si.edu.