Chef Hiroki Odo opens the gallery in New York
While many restaurant owners have optimized and expanded their business models over the past year, most have kept their mission in the field of food and hospitality. The Michelin-starred chef Hiroki Odo, who runs his kaiseki restaurant Odo in New York’s Flatiron district, has roots in another industry: art.
The chef recently opened the gallery in the room next to Odo which, as the name suggests, functions as an art gallery. It’s an idea he pondered for several years before the pandemic. Originally he wanted to run The Gallery from Odo’s basement, but the project expanded a year and a half ago when the adjoining space became available.
“My original idea for the concept was to combine both the culinary and the art world. Two worlds that are symbiotic and which I believe that in combination can create something really meaningful, ”says Odo, who cites artists such as George Nakajima and Isamu Noguchi as inspirations for his culinary approach.
The gallery represents his first venture outside the culinary industry and will only serve as exhibition space until the chef plans to add a gastronomic component to the concept later this year. He plans to serve casual Japanese cuisine in relation to the artwork shown in the room. Both the menu and the exhibitions will rotate.
“I really want to create a connection between people and the whole community,” he adds. “I want to present art from Kyushu [Odo’s hometown] as well as New York City and show how my two worlds are intertwined. “
The gallery’s opening artist is photographer Cody Rasmussen, whose 11 works on display show flowers, spices and herbs. “His work is simple, but his pieces always have meaning and there is a sense of warmth and depth that I enjoy,” says Odo.
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