Fine (art) dining
A local exhibition of Frida Kahlo's paintings inspires a restaurateur to offer a culinary homage.
(FORTUNE Small Business) -- When he discovered that the Philadelphia Museum of Art planned to host a major exhibition of Mexican painter Frida Kahlo's work, chef Dionicio Jimenez knew he had to do something special.
After all, Kahlo was the artistic equal of her husband, famed muralist Diego Rivera, and was so colorful and provocative that Salma Hayek portrayed her in the 2002 biopic Frida.
The Mexican-American chef and co-owner of Philly's popular Xochitl (pronounced "so-cheet") restaurant created a four-course meal based on dishes served at Kahlo's wedding to Rivera. Jimenez didn't have to veer far to conceptualize the menu: Kahlo lived in Mexico City, not far from Jimenez's hometown of Puebla, where Xochitl's tastes were rooted.
"I tried to make the dishes as authentic as possible," says the chef, 32, who started his career as a dishwasher before opening Xochitl with partner Steve Cook in 2007. "But I think everything on the menu represents Frida because it's traditional Mexican food."
The Kahlo meal - which features everything from queso fresco and cactus salad to chiles en nogada (poblano peppers stuffed with ground beef and dried fruits, topped with walnut cream sauce) - has been popular since debuting in February, with Jimenez preparing more than 40 of the $35 prix fixe meals each week. Those sales spurred first-quarter revenues almost 10% higher than during the same period last year.
Xochitl will serve the menu until the Kahlo show closes on May 18. For a glimpse of the dishes, check out FSB's photo gallery - also featuring Xochitl's recipe for its custom Corazon de Frida cocktail.