Gertrude’s Presents: Art Dinner Series – Culinary Surrealism Takes Center Stage

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The eccentric Spanish surrealist artist Salvador Dali once said, “A true artist is not one who is inspired, but one who inspires others.”

The perfect example of inspiration in action happens on the first Monday of every month as Gertrude’s Jazz Bar presents, ‘The Art Dinner Series.’


Ahi Menage of pasta pastry and avocado truffle. PC: Karen Rose

A Salad of White Fruits and white vermouth. PC: Karen Rose

Parmesan and Kona Chocolate Bon Bon. PC: Karen Rose

Smelling Vanilla Beans. PC: Karen Rose

Dali Dinner. PC: Karen Rose

Stilted Animal Arts of Kona Butcher Shop with Essence of Salami (aka frog legs). PC: Karen Rose

French Loaf with Fried Eggs. PC: Karen Rose

Cold Ministrone Pesto Kwawe Parmigiano. PC: Karen Rose

Sangria with rose petals. PC: Karen Rose

Foie Gras, truffle pate, mousse, textures. PC: Karen Rose

The artist owned establishment in Kailua-Kona hosted their first art dinner this month when they presented ‘Dali, Surrealist Dinner.’ With blind-folded musicians, surrealist decor, and delicious dishes sometimes flipped on their heads, the best word to describe the participants reaction to this dinner was pure delight.

“I came up with this idea because of Chef Hamilton,” said Kira Kamamalu, one of the owners of Gertrude’s who is also a painter and fine artist. “He told me about his ‘feed the artist program’ he had done on the Mainland. He created these art dinners to showcase the artists in his community in New York. I thought the idea of feeding the artist was brilliant. It’s the opposite of starving artist and so much better. So we started brainstorming about food we could create as part of a collaboration with the artists.”


Chef Scott Hamilton is the culinary artist in residence at Gertrude’s and collaborated with Kamamalu to create the perfect menu for their first art dinner.

“We got so excited coming up with ideas for the courses,” said Kamamalu. “We picked some of our favorite paintings of Dali and asked ourselves how the piece would inspire us in decor, music and food. We researched what was important to Dali and what he was trying to convey. For example, how many ways can we get the guests to experience this artist in multiple ways — tactile, visual, maybe taking away a sense – an obstruction. We had so many ideas we could have made 15 Dali dinners.”

Hamilton and Kamamalu exceeded everyone’s expectations with their first artist dinner. Much more than food, the evening was a full experience. Two jazz musicians played blindfolded the entire evening. Wine glasses were covered in real rose petals and random doll heads were sprinkled among the tables. During the third course titled, ‘The Most Famous Mustacheo,’ guests took turns blindfolding each other and feeding each other warm gelato and vanilla vodka sorbet while sniffing a mustache-shaped vanilla bean. Sound surreal yet?


“When people go home I want them to ask themselves how they can add surrealism as an element in everything they do — from creating breakfast to gardening,” said Kamamalu. “We want to create a delicious and educational experience that bends people’s thinking.

From frog legs to truffle pate, the evening was a feast of texture, flavor and sensual delights. The eight course meal was paired with wines and spirits topped off with the flare and ambiance of a 1920s dinner party.

The cost of the event is a donation of $75. All proceeds from every art dinner in the series will benefit the Kona Hotel Artist in Residency program in Holualoa.


Gertrude’s Art Dinner Series continues every first Monday of the month. Upcoming dinners are as follows: June 5 — Henri Matisse dinner; July 3 — Gertrude Stein dinner; Aug. 7 — Cole Porter dinner; Sept. 4 — Alexander
Calder dinner; Oct. 2 – Pablo Picasso dinner. For more information call (808) 327-5299 or visit here.

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