Food For The Soul

Food For The Soul

Salon combines dining, listening, learning


Brightwater: A Center for the Study of Food continues its salon series March 8 with the theme “Home.” Chef Rafael Rios of Yeyos in Bentonville and the LatinX Theatre Project have collaborated on a dinner experience that takes guests through some of Rios’ life story and explores the concept of “Home” through food and art.

“More than anything, it’s a cultural experience,” Rios shares. “Showcasing super simple, traditional food of Mexico in a formal, more upscale setting is going to allow me to introduce the plates more efficiently and with a little bit of history. None of these plates that we will have are offered at Yeyos. This is why it’s so important. The setup at Brightwater is obviously different, and it’s going to allow me to really concentrate on providing an experience that has been unseen here in the region.”

That was, in fact, Jessie Wagner’s hope when she started the series last year. As the business development manager at Brightwater, Wagner noted a lack of more casual culinary opportunities for the general public.

“We are a culinary school, so unless you are a chef or a student or you’re there on some sort of culinary or academic business, there’s not a lot of places or ways for the public to engage,” she says. “We have community classes, but those, you have to take an active interest. So I wanted something for people who are interested in food but don’t necessarily have the time or the inclination to be an official learner.”

Pulling inspiration from the programming that blends art and food at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Wagner wanted to create a series that put food first. Brightwater SALON allows chefs the chance to create their dream menu, outside any constraints that may exist at their own restaurant. Next, an art piece is commissioned around the menu, with a different art style highlighted for each event.

“The idea is that they can re-create some of these memories for us and show our guests what I really mean by incorporating the geographical locations and the setup and why is it so important for me,” Rios says of his collaboration with LatinX. “Their art and their performance maximizes the experience of that.

“I want the people that are going to be coming to the event to be open minded,” he adds. “We’re not going to turn anything into any kind of political thing, but it’ll show guests a little bit of my life story through the LatinX Project, and it’s a very strong, very powerful presentation that they’ll be doing during the dinner course. It’s something people don’t want to miss.”



Brightwater SALON: ‘Home’

WHEN — 6 p.m. March 8

WHERE — Brightwater, 801 S.E. 8th Street, Bentonville

COST — $80

INFO — or email

Categories: Food