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Garden Café Ballets Russes

Chef Michel Richard

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Release Date: March 27, 2013

Chef Michel Richard Creates Garden Café Ballets Russes at the National Gallery of Art in Honor of Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes, 1909–1929: When Art Danced with Music

New Menu Starts May 7th

Chef Michel Richard. Photo by Stacy Zarin-Goldberg

Chef Michel Richard. Photo by Stacy Zarin-Goldberg

Washington, DC—Inspired by Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes, 1909–1929: When Art Danced with Music, on view in the East Building from May 12 through October 6, 2013, award-winning Chef Michel Richard will transform the menu of the Gallery's Garden Café with dishes highlighting Russian and French influences. Chef Richard is chef and owner of Citronelle and Central Michel Richard in Washington.

The new Garden Café Ballets Russes menu, available May 7, is presented in partnership with Restaurant Associates and Executive Chef Pierre Cummings at the National Gallery of Art.

Garden Café Ballets Russes

The Garden Café Ballets Russes menu was developed by Chef Michel Richard as a modern spin on Russian and French bistro classics. An avid art enthusiast, Chef Richard found inspiration in the artistry of Serge Diaghilev's groundbreaking Ballets Russes, which drew upon both Russian and Western traditions. "A dining room is like a ballet; it is a cabaret full of culinary music and art," says Richard. "The Ballets Russes period in Paris was full of creativity, and I took inspiration from traditional Russian menus to create dishes as modern as Diaghilev. I am honored to have my food featured with such an extraordinary international collaboration."

Chef Richard's buffet incorporates a variety of traditional Russian dishes with seasonal French ingredients, including Russian black bread, lentil salad, chilled borscht, blini with caviar, grilled eggplant, beef stroganoff, salmon coulbiac, and strawberries romanoff for dessert. Recipe cards for selected dishes will be offered to guests free of charge.

White, red, and sparkling wines from French vineyards complement the menu, as well as a selection of beers from the Czech Republic. Non-alcoholic beverage offerings include juice, soda, bottled water, coffee, espresso, and tea.

Garden Café Ballets Russes is open Monday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 4:00 p.m. A preconcert menu of light fare, desserts, and beverages is offered from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Sundays to accommodate visitors who attend the free Sunday evening concerts in the West Garden Court. One of the most distinctive dining spots in the nation's capital, the Garden Café features a delightful 19th-century French marble sculpture after Jacopo Sansovino, Bacchus and a Faun, and a fountain with Herbert Adams' bronze Girl with Water Lilies (model 1928).

The Garden Café is located in the West Building near the entrance at 6th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. To make reservations for groups of eight or more, please contact the café manager at (202) 712-7454. For more information about the Gallery and its restaurants, visit

History of Themed Garden Cafés at the National Gallery of Art

Themed Garden Cafés in the West Building began in 2004 during the early planning for the 2006 exhibition Cézanne in Provence, when the Gallery's office of press and public information was approached by staff from the Chamber of Commerce of Marseilles, who offered to bring eight chefs to Washington as part of a larger effort to cross-promote the exhibition and the region of Provence that Paul Cézanne loved and celebrated in his art. In recent years, the dining scene in the nation's capital has risen to such heights that the Gallery is able to invite local chefs with international reputations who have familiarity with the Gallery to transform the Garden Café menu thematically with selected major exhibitions.

Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes, 1909–1929: When Art Danced with Music

The Ballets Russes—the most innovative dance company of the 20th century—propelled the performing arts to new heights through groundbreaking collaborations between artists, composers, choreographers, dancers, and fashion designers, including such familiar names as Pablo Picasso, Igor Stravinsky, George Balanchine, Vaslav Nijinsky, and Coco Chanel. On view from May 12 through October 6, 2013, at the National Gallery of Art, Washington—the sole US venue—Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes showcases over 150 original costumes, set designs, paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings, photographs, posters, and film clips in a theatrical multimedia installation in the East Building.

The exhibition is organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, in collaboration with the National Gallery of Art, Washington. It is made possible by generous grants from ExxonMobil and Rosneft. Adrienne Arsht also provided leadership support. Additional funding is kindly given by Sally Engelhard Pingree and The Charles Engelhard Foundation, Jacqueline B. Mars, Leonard and Elaine Silverstein, and The Exhibition Circle of the National Gallery of Art. It is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

General Information

For additional press information please call or send inquiries to:
Department of Communications
National Gallery of Art
2000 South Club Drive
Landover, MD 20785
phone: (202) 842-6353
e-mail: [email protected]
Anabeth Guthrie
Chief of Communications
(202) 842-6804
[email protected]

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