For chef Maite Gomez-Rejón, art is the ultimate appetizer. That's why her ArtBites hands-on cooking classes often take place in museums.
The art historian starts with a guided tour of the galleries at places like The Getty Villa or The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, then shows slides of works that inspired her menu for the day.
Later, you help create lunch at the cooking station, which might be a real kitchen or one improvised with hot plates. The festive, family-style meal comes with wine pairings--it's like a party with paintings.
You can still get in on her June classes ($80) that take place in conjunction with The Aztec Pantheon and the Art of Empire at The Getty Villa. While the subject of the exhibit isn't exactly food, the overall theme informs dishes like handmade corn tortillas, amaranth-chocolate chip cookies and drinks like guava margaritas.
Gomez-Rejón created a chilled shrimp and cactus salad (click here for the recipe) because it's believed the ancient culture favored cactus paddles and lake shrimp. Maybe they didn't eat them together, but they're delicious tossed with jicama and lime juice.
Also coming up: classes on high tea (May 22) and herb gardens as art (June 12) at The Huntington. For younger enthusiasts, there's an ArtBites summer camp for kids at Surfas.