The goal of Williamsburg’s new Museum of Food and Drink — the first of its kind in New York — is to exist at the “intersection of important and awesome,” Executive Director Peter Kim told the crowd at the museum’s official opening and ribbon-cutting on Wednesday morning.
A walk through the museum’s interactive first exhibition, Flavor: Making It and Faking It, quickly proved that it’s already succeeding.
The exhibit, which Kim told Brownstoner about earlier this month, gives visitors a closeup of the $25 billion flavor industry, through history as well as hands-on exploration.
At stations throughout the 5,000-square-foot space you can press a button to experience different smells, both natural and artificial. Think you can smell the difference between a whole lemon, citral (the main aromatic chemical in lemon peel) and lemon essential oil?
And do you know what flavors make up the smell of cola? The answers might surprise you.
And it wouldn’t be a food museum without a taste component: On the taste front, visitors can sample tiny pellets ranging from real and artificial vanilla (yum!) to MSG (yuck!).
Even though the museum lives in a pricey neighborhood that’s home to some of the city’s most buzzed-about restaurants, MOFAD isn’t about high-end food but instead about learning what goes into what we eat.
“We think we know so much about food but we really don’t understand it that much,” said MOFAD culinary board member Bill Telepan, owner of Upper West Side restaurant Telepan.
The Museum of Food and Drink began in 2013 with a traveling exhibit called BOOM! The Puffing Gun and the Rise of Cereal. The museum’s founders hope to eventually take on the even-more-daunting project of opening a full-scale museum, but for now, they’ll be putting on one immersive exhibition at a time.
How to Visit MOFAD Lab: The Museum of Food and Drink, at 62 Bayard Street in Williamsburg, is open noon to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. on Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for students, seniors and low-income residents, $5 for youth 5 to 17 years old, and free for children under 5.
MOFAD founder Dave Arnold, right
[Photos: Laura Leebove]
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