At the Crocker Museum in Sacramento, CA, you can visit the world's first restaurant for plants. Light-filtering panels will serve up "prepared" sunlight to the plants, allowing them to taste wavelengths one at a time, instead the usual spectral mess.
Want to visit the photosynthetic restaurant and enjoy artisanal light with some leafy pals? We've got a gallery of what you'll see in the dining room.
Keats explains his latest offering to the plant world:
Consumed by humans in salads and stir fries for generations, plants will finally attain a cuisine of their own with the debut of the world's first photosynthetic restaurant in Sacramento this month. Situated in the luxuriant 19th Century gardens of the Crocker Art Museum, under the supervision of executive chef Jonathon Keats, the photosynthetic restaurant will provide botanical patrons with healthful and appetizing meals freshly prepared by filtering and mixing the full spectrum of sunlight.
"Honestly I'm surprised that nobody else has done this," says Mr. Keats, an experimental philosopher who has never operated a restaurant before. "For nearly a half billion years, plants have subsisted on a diet of photons haphazardly served up by the sun and indiscriminately consumed, without the least thought given to culinary enjoyment. Frankly, it's barbaric."
To rectify this situation, Mr. Keats has turned to the botanical research of institutions including US Department of Agriculture and the Siberian Academy of Sciences. "Though plants can't taste or smell, their sensory apparatus is incredibly sophisticated," Mr. Keats explains. His solar gastronomy is tailored to their leafy physiology.
Spanning the Crocker Art Museum gardens, panes of colored acrylic will be positioned to filter specific wavelengths of light over the course of the day as the sun arcs across the sky. "Jonathon's recipes are formulated with careful attention to culinary principles that would be familiar to anyone from Apicius to Julia Child," says Scott Shields, associate director and chief curator of the Crocker. Which is not to say that Mr. Keats' preparations can be found in The Joy of Cooking. "This isn't spoon-and-fork territory," asserts Mr. Keats. "What could be more disrespectful to my patrons than for my restaurant to treat plants like people?"
Despite his want of kitchen experience, experts agree that Mr. Keats is uniquely suited to operate a photosynthetic restaurant. "Jonathon has a long history of catering to other species," notes Dr. Shields. For instance, Mr. Keats has choreographed ballet for honeybees at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts by selectively planting flowers around San Francisco hives. He has also produced pornography for house plants by projecting videos of pollination onto their foliage in a darkened theater at the Armand Hammer Museum. "Jonathon's efforts to share aspects of human culture with other species encourage us to scrutinize our own cultural values," Dr. Shields observes.
In anticipation of his impending culinary celebrity, Mr. Keats has already produced his first recipe book, published by the Crocker. "Though California is the world culinary capital, and Sacramento is the agricultural heart of the state, photosynthetic cuisine should be available to every tree and bramble on the planet," asserts Mr. Keats. And while he's willing to discuss franchising with everyone from Wolfgang Puck to Ronald McDonald, he believes that gourmet sunlight shouldn't be reserved for special occasions. "Photosynthetic cuisine needs to be domesticated, at home in people's gardens. As our plants grow more civilized, perhaps they can further civilize us."
Previously, Keats has created travel movies and pornography for plants, and is currently launching a project in New York to help couples engage in quantum entanglement instead of traditional marriage.
The Photosynthetic Restaurant is now open to plants and the general public, and will be serving up tasty wavelengths of light through July 17 at the Crocker Museum. Find out more on the museum website.