A selections of brunch items available at CAM Cafe in Wilmington's Cameron Art Museum.

In any great restaurant, cooking is an art form. That’s true whether it is on a beautifully presented plate or even just simple food prepared well. But some local chefs have really been taking this idea of cooking as art to a different level. First, CAM Cafe in the Cameron Art Museum makes the most of its connection to the surrounding art. And then, there’s a new class at DREAMS from the folks at manna restaurant. Here’s a look. 


At the DREAMS Center for Arts Education, it’s all about equitable access to arts. And recently, with the help of local grants and the Landfall Foundation, there’s a new learning kitchen studio on site. It’s been dubbed “The Foodio” thanks to teaching artist Bri Mellott. Seeing the space immediately inspired Jeremy Malanka of manna. That restaurant, and others, are now sponsoring a cooking class that they hope will help launch a whole new culinary program there. 

A student plates a dish of local whole shrimp in a pan sauce and topped with fresh herbs and edible flowers.

More:New class for Wilmington students meant to spark interest in culinary arts

Works of art 

Fans of the CAM Cafe agree the restaurant is a hidden gem. Chef Chip Pridgen has decades of experience, it’s in a beautiful setting and it’s never too busy. (Although staff says they’re happy for that to change.) You can read here about how the restaurant works in the museum to combine food and art. Plus, here’s a pro date night tip – if you dine at the restaurant on Thursday evenings, you get free museum admission.