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Blue Oak Café and Exclusive Catering Services to Welcome Visitors When Transformed Museum Reopens May 1

Chefs Robert Dorsey III and Karen Bevels as Curators of California Cuisine

Oakland, CA, February 24, 2010 – A new café, Blue Oak, and an exclusive on-site catering service are slated to open May 1 amid the groundbreaking transformation of the Oakland Museum of California (OMCA), announced Museum Executive Director Lori Fogarty. OMCA sees the history, living traditions and cross-cultural impacts of food as central to its role in presenting the stories of the people of California through its internationally regarded collections in art, history, and natural sciences. Award-winning California chef Robert Dorsey III (formerly of Bay Wolf, Firefly, Kuleto’s and Blackberry Bistro) will be managing partner of Blue Oak on site at OMCA, and celebrated chef Karen Bevels will provide California-inspired catering services through Karen Bevels Custom Catering and Events.

Says Lori Fogarty, “Our state’s history, art, and science of food continue to represent California to the world. We are thrilled to have chefs Dorsey and Bevels join us as ‘curators of California cuisine,’ to tell the stories of the people of the Golden State in taste.” Chef Dorsey says, “The way to the heart of the Oakland Cultural Renaissance may well be through the palate. What an amazing affirmation of the importance of food to the stories of our state to have a restaurant and catering embedded in the beautifully refurbished Museum.”

Dorsey’s track record of pushing cultural boundaries and modeling sustainability will be right at home at OMCA. Chef Dorsey will present seasonal menus amid the internationally acclaimed architecture, collections and exhibitions of the Museum , welcoming the spirit of the Bay Area’s pioneering culinary community to celebrate food, the arts, history, nature and the region’s diverse heritage. From Chef Dorsey’s signature shrimp ‘n’ grits to his hand-crafted apple galettes, Blue Oak will be a cultural destination and epicurean epicenter of the California cultural landscape.

Throughout his two-decade career, Chef  Dorsey has proven himself as a culinary master, with a remarkable palate and innovative vision. A consummate student of the culinary arts, Dorsey is an accomplished chef, whose career spans more than 23 years. After working in some of the San Francisco Bay Area’s most notable restaurants, Dorsey is well versed in a myriad of cuisines including classic French, regional Mediterranean, Thai, Mexican, and traditional Southern food, all of which contribute to his unique vision of California cuisine as the summation of the stories of its people in food. Chef Dorsey has worked at an impressive list of leading restaurants throughout the San Francisco Bay Area: Restaurant Metropole, Embarko, Kuleto’s, Firefly, Cafe Rouge and Elysium Cafe. Before setting out on his own with the award-winning and popular Blackberry Bistro in Oakland, Dorsey continued to develop his leadership and culinary skills as a chef at the highly regarded Bay Wolf Restaurant in Oakland.

Chef Karen Bevels’s vision for catering at the Oakland Museum of California is based in living traditions of California food as embodied in authentic recipes, local food sourcing and sustainable practices just as California cooks have done for generations. She has been cooking professionally for more than thirty years, and was first trained in traditional Chinese cooking by an immigrant chef specializing in exotic food and wine pairings. Since the 1970s she has created wedding and special event cakes for friends. Word of her signature style spread quickly and by the mid 1980’s, Bevels had expanded to savory catering and event planning. "Gathering around good food is a great way to build communities,” she says, but it is not only about food. Bevels is a full-service, soup-to-nuts event planner because of her joy of hospitality. Her magnetic presence, kitchen skills, and unwavering focus on freshness and quality have made her a highly sought-after caterer throughout the Bay Area.


About the Newly Transformed Oakland Museum of California

T he Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) reopens Saturday, May 1, 2010, with a dramatically different presentation of its collections, inviting visitors to discover the many stories of California and to explore their own contributions to the state’s social, artistic, and environmental heritage. OMCA’s transformation is enhanced by the renovation and expansion of its landmark Kevin Roche building. OMCA will celebrate the reopening with a series of events and programs that will underscore the Museum’s unique multidisciplinary mission, as well as emphasize California’s distinctive characteristics. The opening events will culminate with 31-hours of continuous free public programs on May 1 and 2. Created in 1969 as a “museum for the people,” OMCA is reviving its foundational premise by developing innovative exhibition and programming strategies, setting a new paradigm for the way a museum engages the public.

Visitors to the reinvented Museum will find multiple entry points for exploring the state’s past; learn about the natural, artistic, and social forces that continue to shape it; and investigate their own role in both its history and its future.  “We are moving toward a more participatory museum experience that encourages visitor contributions and feedback,” says Fogarty. “Just as California is not a ‘fixed’ place but constantly evolving, our new galleries are designed to accommodate change and new ideas.


For more information and visuals, please contact:
Scott Horton
Oakland Museum of California
[email protected]