OMSI Opens Theory: An Eatery Where Food Meets Science
Portland, Ore. (January 24, 2013) – The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is joining the ranks of some of the best-known museums around the country offering a premiere dining experience … but with a twist. Theory, where food meets science, opens in its entirety January 31, 2013. The re-imagined museum eatery removes traditional barriers and essentially welcomes guests inside the kitchen to explore the science of food.
Ever wondered how water temperature affects the physiology of a fish? How does the soil influence the flavor of wine? Does it do the same for wheat? Unlike traditional restaurants, Theory will feature exhibits, demonstrations, classes and events inviting patrons to seek answers to questions like these, while giving them even more to chew on.
“At OMSI, our goal has always been to encourage learning in new and entertaining ways,” says President Nancy Stueber. “Theory is yet another opportunity for our visitors to nourish their minds, and in this case, their bodies as well.”
The open and airy 9,100 square-foot eatery with a prized riverfront view will be a destination in its own right – open to all members of the public and featuring an entrance of its very own from the bordering Eastbank Esplanade. Further accessibility courtesy of the new Portland Streetcar east side route also lends an opportunity for visitors to enjoy Theory’s warm, industrial space and its many unique offerings.
“We are excited to provide an elevated dining experience with so many possibilities,” says Stueber. “Whether it’s a nearby hot spot where you can count on a delicious, healthy and affordable lunch; an extension of the museum experience where the world of food is illuminated; or even a unique event space to hold an unforgettable private gathering, there won’t be anything else quite like Theory.”
Echoing OMSI key health and wellness and energy and the environment initiatives, Theory will champion sustainable practices and healthful eating. Bon Appétit Management Company, which operates Theory, has been an industry leader in local sourcing, buying at least 20 percent of its ingredients directly from local farmers, ranchers, fishermen and artisan producers since 1999. In the last 10 years, the company — whose philosophy is “food service for a sustainable future” — has also initiated policies to offer sustainable seafood, rBGH-free dairy, meat and poultry raised without routine antibiotics, cage-free shell eggs, climate-friendlier options, and humanely raised meat.
“We’ve built a national reputation as a culinary leader with a conscience,” says Bon Appétit CEO Fedele Bauccio. “To us, ‘sustainability’ represents our ongoing quest to do what is right for the well-being of our diners, the farmers who grow our food, the animals that become our meat, the communities in which we operate, and the Earth itself. They are all linked in a ‘circle of responsibility.’”
Bauccio and Bon Appétit have earned numerous awards for their work, most recently the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Association of Culinary Professionals, the Sustainability Pathfinder Award from Chefs Collaborative, the inaugural Leadership Award from the James Beard Foundation, and the first Going Green – Business Leader award granted by Natural Resources Defense Council.
At Theory, executive chef Ryan Morgan and his staff will present ingredients, food sources and cooking techniques to curious observers during the preparation and service of each dish. Menus are seasonal and fresh, and food is made from scratch favoring honest ingredients from small farms within 150 miles of Portland.
“Food tastes best when prepared simply and with the freshest ingredients,” says Morgan. “During that preparation, it’s also important to understand how synergistic it is. Food involves a whole community of people – from the farm to the market to the kitchen to the table. We are cultivating common ground when we encourage guests to ask questions, learn technique, and get acquainted with the people and the process responsible for their meal.”
Theory will feature a diverse menu of new and rotating items as well as familiar favorites, each selected based on criteria encompassing sustainability, seasonality, flavor and nutrition. Specialty categories include:
Hearth: Hand-made and hand-tossed pizzas and pastas.
Comfort: Items familiar to Americana such as meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, and carved ham.
Grill: A fresh catch of the day, grilled meats and vegetable entrées and a la carte items such as grilled chicken and various sliders.
Market: Sandwiches and salads made from artisan breads, seasonal produce and craft meats
from the area.
Streets: A rotating roster of authentic Indian, Latin American, Thai and other global fare.
Menus include food sourcing information to educate guests about where their food originated. Guests will also have the opportunity to interact and learn from those preparing their food, as well as enjoy eatery exhibits, demonstrations and classes, possibilities for which include:
An interactive digital exhibit showing visitors where their food was sourced and how their body will process that food.
Arotating gallery of images depicting the diets of 10 people from around the world, based on the book What I Eat by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Aluisio. The displays would highlight the varied ways different cultures approach and consume food by detailing what each subject eats during the course of one-day – straight down to serving size and caloric value.
OMSI educators will deliver engaging science demonstrations slated to cover topics on nutrition, eating and the senses, modernist cuisine, soil science and more.
Guests of all ages, backgrounds and interests can further immerse themselves in the science aspect of food by signing up for a family or adult class. Topics will range from composting and exploring food through play, to window gardens, modernist cuisine and cheese making.
Beginning February 2013, OMSI will host a happy hour at Theory prior to the museum’s OMSI After Dark event the last Wednesday of every month. A mixologist from a local distillery will be on hand to concoct signature drinks, and the eatery will serve a special menu.
Beginning March 2013, OMSI educators will host a monthly science trivia night at Theory, during which food and beverages will be served.
Food Expert of the Month
Beginning April 2013, Theory will partner with a well-known chef, cookbook author or food luminary each month to create a special menu item. Guests will have the opportunity to attend a lavish dinner featuring the current honoree at the close of each month.
Theory will serve lunch each day OMSI is open to the public. As hours and offerings will vary by season, guests are encouraged to visit www.omsi.edu/theory for more information.
Beginning Mother’s Day, Sunday May 12, 2013, Theory will be open on Sunday mornings with a special, seasonal brunch menu created by Bon Appétit Executive Chef Ryan Morgan. Theory’s large capacity virtually eliminates the need to wait in line for a table, even in the case of large parties.
About Bon Appétit Management Company
Bon Appétit Management Company (www.bamco.com) is an on-site restaurant company offering full food-service management to corporations, universities, and specialty venues in 32 states, including eBay, the University of Pennsylvania, and the Getty Center. All Bon Appétit food is cooked from scratch, from stocks to sauces and soups. A pioneer in environmentally sound sourcing policies, Bon Appétit has developed programs addressing local purchasing, the overuse of antibiotics, sustainable seafood, the food and climate change connection, humanely raised meat and eggs, and farmworker welfare. It has received numerous awards for its work, from organizations including the International Association of Culinary Professionals, the James Beard Foundation, Chefs Collaborative, Natural Resources Defense Council, Seafood Choices Alliance, The Humane Society of the United States, and Food Alliance.
Founded in 1944, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is one of the nation’s leading science museums, a world-class tourist attraction, and an award-winning educational resource for the kid in each of us. OMSI is located at 1945 SE Water Avenue, Portland, OR 97214. For general information, call 503.797.4000 or visit www.omsi.edu.
The space for Theory was developed in collaboration with EDG Interior Architecture and Design (www.engstromdesign.com), Soderstrom Architects, Ltd. (www.sdra.com), and TODD Construction, Inc. (www.toddconstruction.com).