Food is gorgeous by itself, but there are simple, straightforward ways of accentuating its natural beauty, according to local artist and caterer Gary Vlasic.

Vlasic and representatives of other local food establishments will create artistic displays for the Edible Art Exhibit. Sponsored by the Salt Lake City Arts Council, the event will occur Wednesday, Feb. 20, at the Art Barn, 54 Finch Lane. A $20 admission fee will include beverages and unlimited tastes of the food presentations. The exhibit opens at 7 p.m., with sampling beginning at 7:30 p.m., after presentation of the awards. For tickets or further information, call 596-5000.The Salt Lake City Arts Council supports a yearlong series of exhibits featuring local artists, the Brown Bag Concert Series and the Living Traditions Festival from the proceeds of the Edible Art Exhibit.

For Vlasic, the exhibit is the perfect way to share his artistic talents.

To support his love for participation in the performing arts, Vlasic worked in the restaurant business. "Food service is the perfect complement to school and performing," Vlasic explained. "I could schedule my classes and my performances around the flexible hours at the New Yorker. And at the New Yorker, I learned to appreciate the importance of doing things right."

Right for Vlasic is an uncomplicated presentation of food coupled with glass and metal accessories. "Food is my medium visually," the artist added, "and I like to push it. Placing a row of spring rolls on a flat glass serving tray is an example. The presentation excites me; I like garnishing the food with daring pieces of wire mesh, metal or glass. I use sheet metal table coverings with glass trays, bricks and cylinders - a dramatic effect to accent the distinctive lines of the food."

Others appreciate the caterer's flair for innovative presentation. Vlasic was awarded the opening night contract for the Sundance Film Festival as well as the dessert buffet for the golden anniversary of the Utah Symphony.

Vlasic often caters in behalf of local performing artists.

"Artists of varied mediums form a tight knit group in this community. They have supported me in a performance sense; they continue to support me in a food sense," Vlasic continued.

And for all the participants in the Edible Art Exhibit, combining a variety of foods with the principles of design is aesthetically satisfying and gastronomically appealing.



Spring Roll Dipping Sauces

Flatbread with Tomato Pesto

Rosehip Pears with Hot Fudge Sauce

Vietnamese Spring Rolls with Scallops and Prawns