On November 2, 2010, the Kendall College Trust announced a new interactive Web site featuring The Culinary Curiosity Exhibition: The Mel and Janet Mickevic Collection. This exhibit contains over 250 culinary, bakery and confectionery artifacts. More than 130 items from the exhibition are featured virtually on the Web site along with descriptions and videos about their manufacture, origin and use, as well as the solutions they provided in the era during which they were employed.
The collection was donated by Chicago residents, Melvin and Janet Mickevic, to the Kendall College Charitable Trust. The late Melvin Mickevic, an MIT-educated food scientist and entrepreneur, engineered innovations in food-processing technologies and production methods. His interest in Culinary arts led him to collect manually operated devices that represent technical ingenuity.
“Modern food science stands on the shoulders of the technology of the past, and Mel and Janet Mickevic’s hope was that this collection will offer today’s students a unique view into the evolution of problem solving in food processing,” says curator Vicki Matranga. “Artifacts in The Culinary Curiosity Exhibition embody the spirit of inquiry, technical knowledge and innovation that will enable culinary students and professionals to apply food science in creating products and services that meet tomorrow’s needs.”
The exhibition includes twelve themed “displays”. The tools in the collection, ranging from agricultural implements and commercial equipment to items used by home cooks over many generations, demonstrate timeless food-preparation tasks that are executed today with modern, yet often strikingly similar, equipment. The themed sections are entitled, “Fire and Heat”, “Liquid Refreshments”, “Bakers’ Secrets”, “Cutting Edge”, “Sweet Inventions”, “Hearth to Cookstove”, “Global Gastronomy”, “A Tasting Menu”, “Appetizers and Amuse-Bouches”, and “Farm to Fork”.