Local culinary stars join Philly Museum of Art's chef-in-residence program

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The arts scene and the restaurant industry are both ready for a rebound after an extremely difficult year of shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

There's a chance to support and celebrate both at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where a new food experience will feature a star-studded lineup of local chefs.

It's a brand new Chef-in-residence program that will feature local James Beard nominees like Tova du Plessis from Essen Bakery and Nok Suntaranon from Kalaya.

It all kicks off this week as the museum continues to celebrate the reopening of its exhibits and also its culinary spaces.

"I'm very excited," says Mark Tropea, the executive chef of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Stir Restaurant.

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"We have a rotation of 12 chefs, one for each month, corresponding with the first Sunday of each month when we do our 'Pay As You Wish' program. The first chef is Judy Ni from Baology and I'm super excited. She was in last week talking about the menu, and it's all the food that I would want to eat every day," added Tropea.

This is also a celebration of all things local, from sandwiches to the Roman-style pizza.

Local purveyors like bakeries and breweries are also on board.

They've also commissioned local artists and museum employees to make all of the other items you see around the cafe: from the aprons and the cutting boards to the baskets.

"In our espresso bar we're featuring Okie Dokie Donuts, which also has a museum tie. Carol Ha runs the company. She used to work here in the museum. The thing that we enjoy is that all of their doughnuts are gluten free and they also have vegan options."

At the espresso bar you will also find the locally-made Passero's Coffee Roasters.

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