If the social media culture has tuaght us anything, it's that Instagram eats first —our obsession in documenting meals before taking the first bite. Dish Art has become the new Mona Lisa and, more than ever, presentation, garnish and innovation are at the forefront of plating. Though that ceviche might only last a few minutes on the table, it’s on social media forever. In the spirit of the new 21st-century tradition, SRQ Magazine challenged local chefs with a fine arts twist by pairing each with selected local artists’ works of art to invent inspired dishes. A mash-up of “Say Cheese” and “More Cheese Please,” these drool-worthy dishes are as delicious as they are picturesque. 



Banana Leaf Steamed Snapper, Pink Grapefruit and White Zinfandel Sauce, Tropical Fruit Salsa, White Corn Polenta with Poblano Peppers

As a girl who grew up cooking in Florida, the painting invokes nostalgia, reminding me of the Florida-influenced continental cuisine of the 1980s and ’90s. Fla Reflected has a local postmodern feel to the painting in its colors and composition style, so I tried to reflect this in the dish by using several native Florida ingredients, such as the fish itself—the snapper, plus pink grapefruit and tropical fruits. Corn and peppers are also local ingredients that grow in abundance here, and the white polenta will bring out the more pale colors in the painting. I used banana leaf to reflect the theme of greenery and thick Florida foliage. White zinfandel is possibly what the lady in the painting would have been drinking while she was at the Florida beach, and the sauce will nicely accent the rosy pink colors throughout.  Melange, 1568 Main St, Sarasota, 941-953-7111, melangesarasota.com


Fla Reflected 

Jana Millstone’s dreamlike imagery often merges human forms with atmospheric gardens. Fla Reflected gives a nod to Sarasota’s cultural savvy. Within the lush tropical foliage, the glasses reflect the brilliance of the Florida light. A Pratt Institute graduate, she has an extensive exhibition history with numerous awards including Florida’s Finest. 24” x 20”, acrylic over pumice on canvas, 2019.  Her work can be found at Art Uptown Gallery, 1367 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236;  artuptown.com. She can be contacted at
609-227-8368,  jana.millstone@gmail.com, janamillstone.com,  @jana.millstone. @artuptowngallery


Chef Salvatore Boscarello

Innocent Imagination of Sustainable Beauty

When I first saw the sculpture by Taylor Robenalt. many ideas came up to my mind, many elements combined and popped to the right side of my brain. First of all, I looked and studied the art piece and got the meaning of it. The woman’s face with the butterfly and flowers reminds me of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers and a symbol for nature and fertility of the primavera of Botticelli. The hands that hold the two bunnies remind me of a Neoplatonism allegory of a lush growth of spring, with the rabbit symbolizing hope, prosperity and new opportunity. From my point of view being a chef and working in a gourmet market, I had this imagination of a sustainable dish that will use local ingredients, farm to table. From there, I started to put my dish together. I made an edible “soil” that represents the earth using basic ingredients like rye bread. For the sauce, I used carrots and smoked them to symbolize fire and seal the spirit in a mortal body, then I used an organic egg. I cooked the yolk at 149ºF sunny-side up style. I used the eggshell to reveal new life and filled it with four dressings, micro crudité, flowers and micro veggies. I added it to show what our earth can offer us and the beauty and respect that all of us should give back.  Morton’s Market, 1924 S Osprey Ave, Sarasota, 941-955-9856, mortonsmarket.com

ARTIST Taylor Robenalt 

The Future Is Bright

Taylor Robenalt attended Southern Methodist University for her BFA in sculpture. She then discovered her love for ceramics and decided to study at the University of Georgia, where she accomplished her MFA in ceramics. She is currently employed by the Ringling College of Art + Design. This piece was just recently a part of a solo show at Canton Museum of Art in Canton, Ohio. 34” x 13” x 15”, porcelain, cone 6 oxidation, underglaze, glaze, and luster and mixed media, 2020. To view Taylor’s work, please visit taylorrobenaltceramics.com. Her work can be found at the following Florida gallery: Watson MacRae Gallery, 2340 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL. watsonmacraegallery.com. 239-472-3386, Instagram handle: @watsonmacraegallery.


Executive Chef Gregory Harrison

Olive Oil Poached Gulf of Mexico Red Snapper with Crushed Fingerling Potatoes, Fennel Nage and Sauce Vierge

Matteo’s artwork gave me a sense of home, comfort and slower times. With the warm colors used and having fresh ingredients on the sill, I thought this dish should portray just that. I felt lucky to have a piece of artwork featuring various ingredients, so I utilized those directly. Most of the techniques used in this dish do better with time by allowing fresh flavors to form with gentle cooking. Slowly poaching the snapper in the infused olive oil gives it great flavor and leaves the fish tender and moist. The fresh herbs and lemon bloom well with time in the sauce vierge, giving the snapper a flavorful and fresh addition. Finishing the dish with the fennel nage adds incredible aromatics and helps blend all the flavors of the dish giving it a warm, comforting feel.  Chateau 13, 535 13th St W, Bradenton, 941-226-0110, chateau-13.com


View From My Kitchen Window

Matteo Caloiaro is a Florida native residing in Sarasota with his wife and fellow artist Brooke Olivares and their daughter Sofia. He is a painter and a professor in the Department of Illustration at Ringling College of Art + Design. He works primarily in oil with a conceptual and narrative emphasis on portraying people and places with a sense of gritty realism and biblical undertones. Caloiaro’s work can be found at the following local gallery:  11” x 14”, oil on canvas. Palm Avenue Fine Art, 10 S. Palm Ave. Sarasota. 941-388-7526, palmavenuefineart.com.caloiaro.com.


Chef Francisco Alvarez

Tempura Pacific Mackerel

After observing the painting, I wanted to focus on five parts of the painting—my main focus being the mermaid. Being inspired by the beautiful tail and lei necklace, I decided on the tail of a Pacific mackerel, fried in a light tempura batter. To represent the lei, I created a fresh and bright wakame with cucumber, red onion, roma tomato and Egyptian white star flowers. Inspired by the painting’s name, I wanted to create a dish that a surfer would be delighted to eat: a fish taco. The sun is represented by the yellow corn tortilla, the red surfboard by the gochujang aioli and the waves by the sweet lemon foam. Circo, 1435 2nd St, Sarasota, 941-253-0978, circosrq.com

ARTIST Jenny Medved

Surfer’s Delight 

Jenny Medved’s husband, an avid woodworker, brought her home this beautiful slab of cypress a few summers ago. She wanted to try something different from her normal style of works of watercolor portraiture documenting Polynesian and Indigenous cultures through ethnography and paintings. Medved was originally trained as an illustrator from Ringling College of Art + Design and decided to have fun with this, so she combined several elements that she loves: water, wood, surf culture, mermaids and, of course, a Hawaiian influence.  20” x 30”, oil on Florida cypress. This work was part of a private collection, but you can find Jenny’s art at jennymedved.com, facebook.com/jennymedvedwatercolor and instagram.com/jennymedved.artist.


Executive Chef Nils Tarantik   

Oven-Roasted Blue Point Oysters Topped with a Blue Corn Tortilla Soufflé and Blue Agave Tequila-Infused Sals

When looking at the artwork provided to me, it reminded me of fishing villages that we used to visit around my mother’s hometown in Sweden and the abundance of seafood that was pulled from the sea. We would enjoy cooking and eating oysters, fresh-caught fish, and smoked eels at the cottage. I saw it only fit to create a dish that would come from the sea featuring “blue” inspired ingredients. Element, 1413 Main St, Sarasota, 941-724-8585, elementsrq.com

ARTIST Meg Krakowiak

Blue Harbor

Using her imagination, observation, unique color combinations and the happiness that painting brings her, Meg Krakowiak create images that guide the viewer to see what she sees or stimulates a memory of their own. Blue Harbor captures the simultaneous, back-and-forth reflection of color and light between sky and harbor in an exaggerated manner, creating a peaceful and energizing experience at the same time.   48” x 60”, acrylic on canvas. Krawkowiak’s work can be found at her studio, Meg Krakowiak Contemporary Art Gallery & Studio, 60 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota, 941-400-2478; megkrakowiakstudios@gmail.com; megkrakowiakstudios.com; ig: @megkrakowiak_galleryandstudio.


Executive Chef Leonardo Pierucci   

Ravioli Caprese

I was inspired by the stripes that I replayed with crunchy stripes of Parmesan, and for the green, I thought of something fresh like the basil. Since an important ingredient of caprese is basil and my restaurant is focused on pasta, I put the caprese inside the ravioli. Tortellino Bistrot, 6584 Superior Ave, Sarasota, 941-388-7174, facebook.com/Tortellino-Bistrot

ARTIST Laine Nixon


Growing up in Oklahoma, Laine Nixon found refuge in the magnificent sunsets and storms of the Great Plains. There, she discovered her love of the purely aesthetic/abstract/wordless experience that she expresses through her artwork. She works in various media, focusing on color, pattern and strict systems. Nixon holds a BS in math from the University of Tennessee and a BFA in painting from the University of South Florida. Her work is in the collections of RBC Wealth Management and Hillsborough Community College. Development of her work has been supported by the 2016–17 John Ringling Towers Fund award and a residency at the Hermitage Artist Retreat. This particular work was sold to a private collector in Sarasota in 2017. Nixon is represented by the SPAACES Foundation in Sarasota, a contemporary art space and a nonprofit organization not a traditional commercial gallery. A portion of the proceeds from each sale go to the SPAACES Foundation.  48” x 48”, acrylic on canvas, 2017. Find more of her artwork at; lainenixon.com @lainenixonstudio.


Chef Greg Campbell  

Bourbon-Glazed Grouper and Watermelon Avocado Salad

As an ode to the artist, what a better fit than a dish with bourbon. Inspired by our local beaches on a busy day such as the painting, I thought of ingredients that represent the cultural diversity we enjoy from our tourists, and the textures and smells we may encounter on a hot summer day in Siesta Key. Grouper is a local favorite and a go-to for our tourists, a Florida staple. Grains of white sand come to vision as rice. What is better on a beach day than fresh watermelon? Watermelon salad is a classic dish to take to the beach. I’ve paired it with fresh avocado, California sweet olives and balsamic vinegar as a nod to our tourists, who travel the world to get their toes in the sand.  Pier 22, 1200 1st Ave W, Bradenton, 941-748-8087, pier22dining.com


Human Nature No. 2

Above left. For the last 20 years, Tim Jaeger has maintained his studio in Sarasota. His paintings can be found in numerous public and private collections, as well as multiple galleries and venues across the country. In addition to his studio practice, Jaeger is also the director and chief curator of galleries and exhibitions at Ringling College of Art + Design, a longtime art instructor, husband to artist Cassia Kite, and father of two.  40” x 60”, acrylic, oil, and fabric on canvas, 2020. This painting and additional artworks can be viewed at State of the Arts Gallery, 1525 State St., Sarasota. 941-955-2787; info@sarasotafineart.com; sarasotafineart.com; @stateoftheartsgallery. @timjaegerpainter.


Chef Allen Yu    


The concept was to use all the color of the art piece and break it down using only seafood and reorganize to present it in a sushi form.  Tsunami, 100 Central Ave #1022, Sarasota, 941-366-1033, tsunami-sarasota.com

ARTIST Bettina Sego

Magic Place III

Bettina Sego is a mixed-media artist based in Sarasota influenced by her surroundings: the bright light, the brilliant blues and greens of the Gulf of Mexico, the interesting shapes and color combinations of the tropical plants she sees when she looks out of her studio window.  6” x 6”, mixed media on board with resin. Her work can be found at 530 Burns Gallery, 530 Burns Ct., Sarasota. 941-951-0620; info@sedacca.com; 530burnsgallery.com; @530BurnsGallery.