Passionate foodies looking for total immersion in the history of haute cuisine should plan a trip to the Johnson & Wales Culinary Arts Museum, in Providence, Rhode Island, where more than 500 years of cooking and food history are on display.
The museum, which is connected to Johnson & Wales University and its prestigious culinary school, had its humble beginning back in 1979, when former industrialist Paul Fritzsche donated 7,500 rare cookbooks from his personal collection for the University’s archives ” many of them going back to the 1500s. Other contributions followed, including 4,000 iconic and gourmet restaurant menus from Dorothea Zack Hanle, former editor-in-chief of Bon Appetit magazine. With a solid collection of cookbooks and menus, the museum was well underway, but was augmented with more than 64,000 additional items from the personal collection of Chef Louis Szathmary of Chicago’s esteemed “The Bakery” restaurant. Szathmary’s generous donation helped turn the Museum into one of the finest showcases of the history of the culinary and hospitality industries.
Visiting the museum is like taking a tour back in time. Some of the permanent exhibits include galleries dedicated to stoves, famous chefs, kitchen gadgets and appliances, Presidential palates and the food served at state dinners, old fashioned diners, and much more. This is a must see in a foodie’s world tour, right after visiting Julia Child’s kitchen.
The museum is located at 315 Harborside Boulevard in Providence, Rhode Island. An electronic version of the Museum brochure is available here.
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