Pompeii's Table is made possible through an arts and cultural partnership with Orlando Science Center and the Orange County Arts and Cultural Affairs Office to support the event,  Pompeii: The Immortal City, open to the public from June 6, 2020 to September 7, 2020, at Orlando Science Center.

Pompeii's Table: Sublime and Ancient Food That Has Survived Vesuvius's Fury is a production of Joseph Hayes
and The Company of Eccentric Beggars.
All content © 2019 Joseph Hayes




supporting Pompeii: The Immortal City
Coming to Orlando Science Center
June 6 to September 7, 2020


What do we know about the food of Pompeii and Imperial Rome, what did they eat, how did they eat it, and what can we take from that inspiration and go Ancient Roman wild?


The Pompeii's Table project is coordinating dinners, demonstrations and discussions to explore the history and unique food of the Pompeian kitchen, and how some of it (not all) has become what we know as Italian food. Each dining situation will be a collaboration and experiment in creativity, using lists of the actual ingredients that were available in First Century Pompeii and ancient recipes of the time as a starting point for unique chefly inspiration.

Special preview March 7, 2020



Jes Tantalo, consulting chef

Bruno Zacchini, Pizza Bruno
Bruno Fonseca, The Foreigner Experience

Fabrizio Schenardi
executive chef, Ravello at Four Seasons Resort


Kathleen Osterhaus Blake, chef
Jes Tantalo, chef


Va Propst, Trina Gregory-Probst
chefs, Sette


Anna McCambridge-Thomas, animation artist
Susan Lilley, Orlando Poet Laureate
John O'Leary, pianist

and more ... Dates Soon!


A production of Joseph Hayes and
The Company of Eccentric Beggars


for more information, contact
Pompeii's Table



From the common laborer to the elite villa owner, food was, and is, an integral part of Pompeiian life. Recipes for the diet of chickpeas, lentils, mussels and boiled cabbage consumed by the common populi can still be found, while powerful patricians then (and perhaps now) dined on larks tongues, drank wine from the slopes of Vesuvius, and ate the wild asparagus favored by the Emperor Tiberius. And all shared a love for a universal flavor enhancer called garum, a fermented fish sauce coined by Pliny the Elder, so irresistible that versions of it are still made to this day.


We will celebrate the highlights of Italian life, from Pompeii and Imperial Rome to America, at local event spaces, kitchens and culinary hotspots throughout the Orlando area with a series of discussions, demonstrations, pop-up kitchens and grand sit-down dinners exploring the history and unique foods of the Pompeian kitchen. The menu of the times will be recreated, the products of communal ovens and markets reproduced by artisanal bread makers, fisherfolk and cooks, and the experience of the taberna and the thermopolia can be enjoyed in Central Florida as it was in Campania.


As the only independent producer presenting work during this series of artistic partnerships, Joseph Reed Hayes—freelance writer, playwright and Dining Critic for Orlando magazine—is crafting the Pompeii's Table events to celebrate Italian cuisine and the unique legacy of ancient Italy. Joseph writes for national and international publications about food, travel and the arts, and has won five Florida Magazine Association "Charlie" Awards. With 40 productions and readings of his plays from coast to coast and in three countries since 2001, Joseph continues to explore new environments for theater. He is Chair of Alternative Programming for The Timucua Arts Foundation.

Enhancing the Science Center's exhibits, local artistic partners will participate across the Orlando, including Creative City Project, Downtown Art District, Enzian Theater, Joseph Hayes, Mad Cow Theatre, Snap Orlando, the University of Central Florida and UCF Create.

Developed and produced by TEMPORA in collaboration with Civita and Filmmaster based on the scientific research of the Galileo Museum of Florence and the National Archaeological Museum of Naples, Pompeii, The Immortal City plunges the visitor into the heart of the drama and ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii. Spectacular immersive moments allow the visitor to experience the destruction of the city and to identify with the inhabitants of that time, immobilized by the volcano’s ashes.  Over 100 archaeological items originating from Pompeii, including a large number being exhibited for the first time, demonstrate the knowledge that the Romans had about nature as well as their scientific and technical know-how at the moment Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D. Orlando Science Center is one of only four locations in the United States to host the exhibit.

Coming to
Orlando Science Center
June 6 to September 7, 2020

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