Local artist Betty Rosado celebrates local chefs in Let them Eat Cake, her photographic reinterpretation of Norman Rockwell’s painting Freedom from Want.
The photo will be showcased as part of American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell, an exhibit at the Museum of Art | Fort Lauderdale. While the Rockwell exhibit opened in November, the museum has yet to announce when Let them Eat Cake will be up for viewing.
Museum director Irvin Lippman commissioned Rosado to recreate several of Rockwell’s paintings as part of the exhibit, including The Gossips, Rosie the Riveter and Muscle Man.
“Like Norman, we use the same things,” Rosado said. “We use people in our communities and talk about good things. It’s all about good things and I think food is one of those things.”
Miachael’s Genuine pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith was the original inspiration for Rosado’s take on the Rockwell dinner scene.
“Hedy was going to be my muse for that because I think she’s a rock star,” said Rosado. “I thought, if I get Hedy to bake and put people at the table with her … So who do I put at this table? And I wanted her to be surrounded by chefs.”
Neither Goldsmith nor her delectable desserts are in the shot. It features chefs Michael Schwartz, Michelle Bernstein, Ken Lyon, Azul’s Clay Conley and Nobu’s Thomas Buckley. In the picture, Schwartz’s wife Tamara holds a cake instead of a turkey.
“Do you know how hard it is to get Thomas, Clay, Michelle, Kenny and Michael? That shoot was scheduled like four times. It’s the shot that almost got me to drink,” said Rosado.
When she finally got all the chefs in her studio, sitting together at a table she set with strawberries, chocolate and candied apples from Costco, Rosado said she didn’t have enough time to get them to loosen up. Plus, all of them had busy restaurants to get back to.
“For me, it was like what do you mean we’re leaving? What do you mean we’re not having more prosecco? Had I had more time with them, inevitably there would’ve been a huge food fight.
“I had some of them that were so shy and so reserved. It’s funny to think that these guys who are so strong … I couldn’t believe it. Michelle was the first one who grabbed a chunk of cake because I was pushing them. It fizzled. I think Michael’s kids had the most fun.”
Even with the time-constraints and the chefs’ timidness, Rosado was pleased with the end result.
“People take for granted sitting together at a table and that’s what the photo is about. These people are the best at who they are but they are together celebrating. I rocked the Rockwell, I’ve got to say.”
American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell runs from November 14, 2009 to February 7, 2010 at the Museum of Art | Fort Lauderdale, One E. Las Olas Boulevard at Andrews Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, 954.525.5500.