When the Science Museum of Minnesota decided to use their annual gala to celebrate their 100th Anniversary, their vision was to create a once in 100 year event.
Being the 100th Anniversary, they wanted to do something to celebrate their past while promoting and embracing the future. Their plans included incorporating past exhibits as well as characters from the upcoming “Stars Wars” exhibit. The challenge was how to create a menu that would also tie into this all-encompassing “Sci-Fi” theme.
MHC Culinary Group proposed using squash grown from 130 year old heirloom seeds as the main ingredient in each of the four courses they planned to serve their guests. Executive Chef Michael Harper and his team created a squash puree to be used as a base ingredient in the appetizer – a tartlet made with squash puree, fava beans, and lentils, sautéed in extra virgin olive oil and topped with crumbled gorgonzola cheese. Salads were created with croutons made from the squash puree. The entrée featured a squash soufflé. A decadent cheesecake made from squash puree and a crust of squash crumbs mixed with brown sugar, served in a large martini glass painted with chocolate and caramel finished the meal.
The gala was featured in numerous magazines as one of the most inventive in years, and at the live auction a private dinner prepared by Chef Harper created a bidding war that led to two private dinners and $20,000 for the museum.