We all love pumpkin pie and stuffing, but Degas: A New Vision has us in a French mood—and what’s more French than a good meal and wine? The MFAH has partnered with local eateries to enhance your experience of the exhibition; Jacques Fox, chef/owner of Artisans Restaurant in Midtown, created a “Tribute to Edgar Degas” menu, and Jaime Salazar, chef at Brasserie 19 in River Oaks, chose to serve up halibut en papillote.
The chefs shared their thoughts with us about their Degas-inspired dishes, available during the run of the exhibition, through January 16.
How did Degas: A New Vision inspire your specials?
Jaime Salazar, Brasserie 19 Fish prepared en papillote (“in parchment”) is French—like Degas, of course. In honor of the artist, we wanted to use a traditional preparation that was not only delicious but also beautiful. The halibut en papillote is served with zucchini, marinated artichoke, heirloom tomatoes, lemon, and white wine, so the fillet of fish is accented by hints of vibrant color, like many of Degas’s artworks.
Jacques Fox, Artisans When planning a menu, I feel it is important to research the people and the time period to connect all elements together. As a classically trained French chef, one of my favorite chefs is Auguste Escoffier, who lived in the same era as Degas. Both men elevated their own art forms and were pioneers in their fields. I chose products that Escoffier loved at that time: scallops with fennel sauce, and tournedos Rossini. And the cheese-course selection and poached pear frangipane with bourbon ice cream represent the time Degas spent working in New Orleans.
Houston Press has named Brasserie 19 one of the top romantic restaurants in the city. How does your halibut dish complement the ambiance?
JS To tout our romantic atmosphere, we wanted to showcase a dish that was elegant, yet simple. When you taste this dish, there is no denying that it is delicate and light. A hint of acidity from the lemon and wine shines through that is balanced with the earthy vegetables and flaky fish.
How does pairing your special menu with Degas: A New Vision enhance the experience of both?
JF I love experimenting, and I like to have fun and enjoy life! Degas’s paintings are rich, textural scenes of dancers, café diners, racehorses, and snapshots of daily activities. They are full of life. Just as Degas: A New Vision is an extensive representation of his life’s work in one place, my menu combines many classic foods of Degas’s day that you can combine with your experience of the exhibition.