Although Hiroki Odo has established himself a well-known chef behind culinary mainstays such as the kaiseki speakeasy odo and all-day cafe HALL, the Japanese native has always been an art aficionado. On the heels of a tumultuous year for New York City as the pandemic ground the restaurant industry to a halt, Odo is taking his creative ambitions to the next level. Today, he debuts a physical exhibition space, called THE GALLERY and located in the Flatiron District, that will serve as fertile ground to cultivate emerging artists. “I appreciate the value of creative expression and I’m excited to explore and share the works of artistic communities,” says Odo. “As a mixed media artist, I’m thrilled to operate a space that will serve as a platform for inspiration and discovery of new artistic talent.”
Kicking things off is an exhibition of fine art prints, called “Botanicals,” by the local photographer Cody Rasmussen. Entombed under acrylic glass covers are eleven minimalist shots depicting up-close views of both fresh and preserved flowers, herbs, and spices saturated with rich natural tones that offer a compelling contrast to their simple black backdrops. Exhibitions won’t be the only thing on the menu; starting in July, Odo will open up THE GALLERY for dinner service with original menus and cocktails that change every season. He’s cooking up his own answer to a debate for the ages: Is food art?