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The Museum of Art Café has introduced its new Middle Eastern menu in collaboration with the new Islamic art exhibit at the Brigham Young University Museum of Art.

The new exhibit, titled “Beauty and Belief: Crossing Bridges with the Arts of Islamic Culture,” strives to create dialogue, build bridges and bring different cultures together.

In response to this cause, the MOA Café created an authentic Middle Eastern menu to introduce the BYU community to the delicious side of culture, allowing patrons visiting the exhibit to indulge in the artistry and flavors of Middle Eastern life.

“We are very excited to have the MOA Café offer authentic cuisine during the exhibition,” Yvette Arts, assistant to the dean for the College of Fine Arts and Communications said. “It adds a nice touch to the experience for our visitors.”

Chefs with BYU Dining, including Executive Chef John McDonald, spent several weeks researching Turkish, Lebanese and other Middle Eastern flavors to find the right dishes to introduce to the BYU community.

“We did a lot of testing of ingredients to come up with the direction we decided to go,” Chef McDonald said. “We especially did a lot of different testing to come up with our pita bread.”

Dishes on the menu include a shawarma chicken platter or sandwich, Turkish salad with chicken and yalanji (stuffed grape leaves). Side dishes such as hummus, tabbouleh (Arab salad), basmati rice and pita bread compliment the meal. The MOA Café has even made some desserts, including semolina cake (honey cake) and baklava (flaky pastry). 

“The flavors of the Middle East are very fresh and vibrant,” he said. “The menu should be a nice addition to the menu for the season.”

The MOA Café will serve the Middle Eastern menu in addition to its regular dishes until the end of winter semester 2012. The MOA Café is closed during spring and summer semesters and will reopen for fall semester.

For more information about the MOA Café, contact Barbara Lettich at barbara_lettich@byu.edu or call (801) 422- 3245.

“Beauty and Belief” ends Sept. 29. The exhibition includes more than 250 works of art from more than 40 lenders in ten countries and will be displayed in the galleries on the main level of the museum.

For more information about the exhibit, visit  beauty-and-belief.byu.edu.

Writer: Mel Gardner