Food can be art. There is some debate on this in the culinary world right now, but in my mind there is no question. To me it comes down to the very definition of the term, aesthetically pleasing. Be it to the ears as with music, the eyes as with paintings and sculpture, or multiple senses as with film. Food transcends all of those in that it engages all of the senses! The sound of a steak searing in a hot cast iron skillet or on a grill, the smell of garlic, the texture of the perfectly mashed potato, the artistic visual composition of a plate…. and let’s not forget the taste… the MOST important aspect!
As a child I thought (and so did most of my family) that I would grow up to be an artist. My grandfather, a hobbyist woodworker, made me my first easel for my 4th birthday. That’s how early I was showing the creative impulse. In high school I took every art course they offered and my father had instilled in me a great appreciation for music, so there are more than a few bands in my history as well. But a few short years after graduation I lost the urge for visual art, painting, drawing, sculpting ect. By this time I was already years into my current career as a chef, but that background has served me very well. Mostly in the way I think about food, as a composition.
I had been rolling the comparisons to fine food and fine art around in my head for some time when I happened upon this book.
Needless to say, the first chapter immediately caught my attention, and after acquiring it (birthday gift from the perfect woman, thank you Sara!) I was NOT disappointed! I read it twice, cover to cover. Half way through the first time I thought, “I should be bookmarking this! Every other page is amazing!”. Filled with interviews with chefs at the top of their game, seasonal ingredient charts, classic food and wine pairing lists, menus from the aforementioned chefs, and discussions on the validity of comparing fine food and fine art, I fell in love with this book! It’s another essential for aspiring chefs, and foodies alike. The contributors list reads like a ‘who’s who’ of American chefs, and the last chapter alone is worth the price of admission.
So it looks like I grew up to be an artist after all. I just hope I can live up to that moniker.