Alibi V.25 No.22 • June 2-8, 2016 

Culture Shock

No Food Fights, Just Food Love

The weird and beautiful culinary-inspired work of FoodGore

FoodGore
Like so many great stories, this one, too, starts as a love story. Mayaneli Brown and Niles Keith met in high school in Albuquerque, “but we barely spoke two words to each other then,” as Keith puts it. Years later Keith was attending the Cinema Makeup School in LA while Brown was busy working as a gourmet chef at The Artichoke Cafe. The two reconnected and subsequently, their lives were changed. “I packed all my stuff up, put it in my car, and drove from Los Angeles to Albuquerque. Two days later, [Mayaneli] and I met up and that's how our relationship started,” Keith explained, and by proxy, it was also the genesis of the beautiful, weird baby that is FoodGore.

Mayaneli Brown and Niles Keith
Mayaneli Brown and Niles Keith of FoodGore
It's difficult to tally the many things that FoodGore is. It's an ongoing multiplicity of projects. It's curated, monthly art pop-ups. It's jewelry, fashion and assorted other handcrafted wares. But, perhaps most importantly, it is ice cream. Fuck. Yes. “It started out weird,” Keith said. “Weird” is, in fact, a word we will all say many times over the course of our interview. Brown mentioned to Keith that she really wanted a necklace with a favorite culinary item—an egg—on it. Keith used the sculpting skills he learned from makeup art and crafted a sunny-side up egg necklace from resin for her. “I brought it to her one night when she was cooking. That's how we started making things together,” Keith explained. From there, the two married Brown's culinary skills and Keith's crafting expertise to begin FoodGore, teaching each other and collaborating along the way.

In October of 2015, FoodGore held its first, informal art exhibition and ice cream tasting in the spare room of their home. The goal? “We just wanted to [have] weird little art shows … and serve weird ice cream,” Keith explained. FoodGore has grown exponentially since then. The unofficial home of the project has shifted to The Shop Breakfast & Lunch, where last month's pop-up featured an eight-course dessert menu and a range of handmade goods. FoodGore also highlights the work of other local visual artists; in the past they have showcased work from diverse artists such as the whimsical drawings and paintings of Tina Yara-Nieto and the tattoo-inspired design work of Osiris Keith. “We thought that doing art shows would be a cool opportunity to collaborate with our friends who are trying to get out there as artists, that way we bring in different types of people,” Brown elaborated. Their next pop-up at The Shop on June 26 will feature the food-laden artwork of Kelly Gee.

The multitude of happenings at FoodGore—the jewelry and the pins and the other petite luxuries that they create, the art shows that they host and the ice cream they serve up monthly—all have an end goal. “We thought it would be cool to have an ice cream cart one day,” Brown said, “Now it's starting to become real.” “The vision is outrageous,” Keith interjected, “And we just roll with it,” Brown added. Equally brilliant and outrageous are the ice cream flavors the two engineer which include things like matcha-nori, avocado and chocolate chip, and green chile. Post-interview they sent me home with their “Girl Gang” flavor—triple berry ice cream with cotton candy extract which Managing Editor Renée Chavez gleefully described as something like “eating a thunderstorm cloud.”

“What I love [about FoodGore] is that it's all made in-house … night to night, we make it. It's us,” Keith explained about their creative process, which most often takes place in the few hours between work and sleep. Their ice cream is made by hand, and their creations are all hand molded and sculpted. In fact, they just invested in a screen printing press, so that they can create their own t-shirts and art prints as well. “This is our break from work,” Brown explained. “It's a fun way for us to be together.”

And that strikes at the heart of what FoodGore is about—endless fun (it's evident in everything they create) and, on a more intimate plane, being together. “It's why I moved back,” Keith clarified. As FoodGore expands and evolves (they even have designs for their ice cream cart in place and are only waiting on the funds to build it), it remains a love story. Brown and Keith not only share a personal connection and amazing creative synergy, but the love they have for the fruits of their collaborative efforts is palpable, and they celebrate it in their own weird way, with ice cream and art. Discover your own reasons to love FoodGore by finding them on Facebook (/foodgore) and Instagram (@foodgoreshop) and making your way to The Shop on June 26 for a multi-course dessert plating and a whole lot of fun.