Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

The Evolution of Cooking: A Dinner at the Bell Museum

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

The Heavy Table, together with the Bell Museum of Natural History and Chef Chris Olson (co-creator of Paired and cook at Meritage in St. Paul), presents a culinary journey: “From Open Flames to Sous Vide: The History of Cooking in Five Courses.” Set in the Bell Museum’s diorama hall, this dining experience will travel through time with courses that highlight culinary innovations through the ages.

“Although this dinner is highlighting the evolution of food and cooking, the menu is far from rustic,” says Olson. “Using modern cooking techniques and years of training, I have created a dinner that will please the palate, as well as exemplify the major steps in the evolution of human eating. The menu will feature local and seasonal products as we take a trip from prehistoric to postmodern.”

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table

Joining Olson in discussing the courses and the progression of culinary techniques represented will be industry experts such as University of Minnesota biological anthropologist Greg Laden, whose work focuses on diet and human evolution. “The environment shapes what we eat, and we in turn have shaped the environment to feed ourselves,” says Bell Museum Community Program Coordinator Shanai Matteson. “We hear a lot about the nutritional quality of our food, but not as much about where our food comes from historically. This dinner will offer great food and great education.”

Katie Cannon / Heavy Table
Katie Cannon / Heavy Table

“The Heavy Table’s goal for this event was to create a union between great food made by a local chef with a thought-provoking theme that would make this more than just an excuse to chow down on five courses,” says Heavy Table editor James Norton. “We’re expecting this to be an equal blend of delicious, civilized, and memorable. And the Bell is an amazing venue for a meal — talk about atmosphere!”

Norton continues, “If you’re interested in food, you’ll have a great time discovering how the evolution of cooking techniques actually changed the course of human history and made us the people we are today. And if you’re already a science buff, you’ll have a great time seeing the course of our cultural, social, and technological evolution reflected right there on the plate in front of you.”

“From Open Flames to Sous Vide: The History of Cooking in Five Courses” takes place on Tuesday, February 9 at the Bell Museum of Natural History. Ticket price is $50. Included in ticket price is entrance to Bell Museum exhibits, including the current featured exhibit: Hungry Planet, What the World Eats. Doors open at 6pm for exhibits; dinner and program begin at 7pm.

For reservations call 612.624.9050; seating is limited.


  1. Ben

    I called yesterday before 8am and left a message about a table for two and was emailed back telling me that I was waitlisted!

  2. Lynda

    Wow -I had such a great time! Food was amazing. Specially-brewed beer from Dave’s Brewfarm was incredible. Plus eating amongst the giant dioramas was magical.

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