Painter Karen La Beau and chef and culinary entrepreneur Panderina Soumas have a lot in common. Both grew up in New Orleans but reside in Shreveport-Bossier, and both are artists who employ the bold colors, flavors and traditions of New Orleans in their work. It makes perfect sense that these two dynamic women will be collaborating for the upcoming event, “What Do You Get When You Cross a Gumbo Pot and a Paint Brush?,” 1-4 p.m., Saturday, April 19 at the Naked Bean Café in Shreveport.
During the event, which is free to attend, Chef Soumas will share samples of a Creole dish while selling and discussing a variety of her Soumas Heritage Creole Creations products. Soumas will also have a few copies of her cookbook, a fascinating tome that is part family scrapbook, part history lesson and part recipe collection. La Beau will be selling her original art, prints and note cards. Between La Beau’s lovingly rendered memories of life in New Orleans and the aromas that will be drifting out of Chef Soumas’ simmering pots, the spirit of New Orleans should be on full display at the Naked Bean Café.
I’ve been e-mailing Soumas and La Beau about the event, and wanted to share some excerpts from our exchanges.
Chris Jay: What inspired you to collaborate?
Karen La Beau: Panderina and I clicked from the first time we met. After we discovered that we both hailed from New Orleans, our bond became even stronger. So much of what we are as artists has derived from our New Orleans roots.
Panderina Soumas: Karen’s art depicts the very essence of New Orleans and much of it relates to food…we hope to share our experiences with food and art, showing the correlation between the two.
CJ: Has working with one another taught you anything about your own medium?
KLB: What I want is for people to realize how close culinary art is to visual art. Especially since it’s the beautiful creations that a chef puts together that inspire an artist to put it on canvas.
PS: Oh, yes! Food is an art. Food may smell good, but if it’s not appealing to the eyes, you view it differently! Working with Karen, and seeing her unique way of capturing a culture so boldly on canvas – her talent really does leave me speechless.