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Site Credits

Photography: Stacey Salter Moore, Briana Balducci, Joseph Magnelli, David Chow

Videography: Federica Nanfeng, Sarah M. Park

Structure: Aaron Tiang, Anna Ong

© 2019 by Studio ATAO, Inc. A 501(c)3 nonprofit

Storyteller in Residence: Nicaragua

commissioned by Cayuga Collection

Storyteller in Residence: Nicaragua is an immersive VR/360 project celebrating the food cultures of Nicaragua through the lens of eco-sustainability. We traveled to Nicaragua to profile three important aspects of Nicaraguan food culture: coffee, fish and markets. Using immersive 360 video, we told the stories of these foods with behind-the-scenes footage of the whole cycle, from land and sea to dish. Our final VR footage and personal stories were paired with 3 courses of food and cocktails, matched to the corresponding topic, and presented to the Nicaraguan Tourism Board as well as locals and hotel guests at Cayuga Collection's Jicaro Island Ecolodge.


This coffee-based cocktail draws from Nicaraguan dessert Sopa Borracha ("drunken soup"), a rum soaked cake. The idea was to replicate the heft and indulgence of the cake in liquid form by using full-bodied alcohol and the mouthfeel of a sour. 

I combined Flor de Caña añejo classico rum, Selva Negra "Mousey" blend coffee, sweet lemon syrup (literally, a lemon but sweet) and coconut milk for the cocktail base, then added egg whites for an extra creamy body. The drink is topped with fresh coffee cherries and coffee beans, which are surrounded by a lightly sweet pulp.

Deacachimba is Nicaraguan slang for "awesome" or "f*cking A", a word we were taught by the wonderful staff at Jicaro Island. This felt a fitting way to close out the tasting and say thank you.

- Matt Dorsey, Mixologist

"Tres Leches"

and Gallo Pinto Ice Cream

Tres Leches, or "3 milks" is a popular Nicaraguan dessert made of a fluffy cake soaked with a mix of whole milk, sweetened condensed milk and evaporated milk. I adore the classic version, but fell in love with so many bits and pieces of Nicaraguan food I wanted to incorporate some fun touches to this staple sweet.

For the base, I used Selva Negra espresso beans and cumin to flavor a classic sponge. In place of the milks I used another Nicaraguan favorite: guabul, green banana and coconut milk dessert soup. I let the cake soak for 24 hours, then topped with green mango and guava jam (a typical fruit jam eaten for breakfast). On the side I turned the national rice & beans ("gallo pinto" or "spotted rooster") into ice cream and topped it with a chocolate & coffee crumble for texture.

- Jenny Dorsey, Chef

Si Quieres

Nicaraguan markets are filled with delicious non-alcoholic beverages, flavored with everything from flaxseed to cacao to naranjilla. An especially popular one is chicha, a lightly fermented corn that is often turned into chicha bruja (corn beer). It is typically sold in small bags and colored bright pink with a "raspberry" flavoring. 


This drink took inspiration from chicha morada, the Peruvian beverage made from chicha, but is built on Nicaraguan bounty. Pineapple vinegar, sourced from the coasts renowned for their lush fruit, offers an acidic component while grama tea, a grassy root used for herbal drinks adds body. Papaya seeds and tamarind marmalade from Santa Clara Farm balance the natural texture of the chicha and the national spirit of choice - Flor de Caña rum - is the liquor.

- Matt Dorsey, Mixologist

Seabass Ceviche

with smoked naranjilla

Classic Nicaraguan ceviche is dressed with lime, tossed with red onions and packs a little heat. I wanted to maintain this foundation while highlighting some of the gorgeous produce I saw at the markets and also play with a ceviche style from a similarly tropical area across the world: kinilaw from the Philippines. 

I took naranjilla, an interesting fruit that looks like a persimmon but slices like a tomato, smoked it with applewood, pureed and strained it, then combined that with sour orange (literally, an orange but sour) as the acidifying base. I mixed in passionfruit seeds for crunch, lots of sliced mimbro (a tiny juicy green pepper-like vegetable that is super sour), freshly extracted coconut milk (macheted, grated, pureed on-site); and Congo pepper (a tiny, tiny pin-sized pepper that is very spicy) for heat.

- Jenny Dorsey, Chef


Culinary Lead & 360 Director: Jenny Dorsey

Beverage Lead: Matt Dorsey

Local Guide: Marcela Reuda Campbell

Traditional Videography: Sarah Park

360 Post Production: Jhernie Evangelista