Design Students Compete to Make-over Todd Gray's Muse Café

Corcoran class/contest winners will see their designs brought to life in D.C.

College is full of enticingly offbeat courses to choose from, but how many students can say they had the chance to take a class that let them re-design a restaurant — and maybe see their work be brought to life?

At the famous Corcoran Gallery art museum and school in Washington, D.C., ten design students had the chance to do just that. And tomorrow morning, they’ll present their final design concepts to a panel stacked with industry pros in hopes that it will be chosen to become a reality.

Corcoran instructor Darlene Molnar taught the course, in which ten students were assigned to create the perfect design and marketing package for the Corcoran’s resident Muse Café, owned by chef Todd Gray and his wife, restaurateur Ellen Kassoff-Gray.

Encountering some design hurdles in the process of opening Muse, the owners figured they might as well leave the artistic decisions to the pros — after all; the café is inside of a world famous art museum and school.

The course took healthy competition to a new level by splitting students into two teams and asking them to fuse the Corcoran’s “applied arts” with Todd Gray’s culinary creations to create the ultimate vision for the café’s interior, guest experience, and graphic branding. Then they’ll pitch their projects to the owners and judges, which include Jason Reaves of Food Network and Salamander and Cupcake Wars winner Doron Petersan, among others.

Whoever wins will get a prize package and the opportunity to be the co-hosts at Muse’s unveiling party. It all sounds like a reality-TV show in the making, right? Well, you never know — according to the press release, students were apparently under the impression that a television audience might also get to keep watch on the contest. Either way, stay tuned!