We need to put the thirst back in design professionals to be aware, appreciative and understand art. So my Thursday posts are going to be about the artists who inspired me. I have stepped out of my comfort zone to the culinary arts here.
Could you imagine people eating a painting — if they could introduce a painting into their bodies? It’s probably the artist’s dream, and we have the opportunity to do so. – Ferran Adrià
There are three strong reasons to believe that creating a culinary style is an art form. They are:
Sensorial Experience: Like art, a gastronomy innovation is experiential. It engages your senses and stays in your mind, a mnemonic.
Evocative: A series of well-structured courses of a meal can be reminiscent, expressive, vivid and powerful. It is as emotive as art.
Based on Interpretation: Like in art interpreting reality, a cuisine can be about how the chef interprets the meal, the series of visual, textures, taste and smell.
I love deconstruction as a concept. It is the ability to take an object or an abstract idea apart, pare it down to its constituents and build it back together they way you interpret it. Cubists challenged our perception and included parts of objects or faces that you did not see in their rebuild.
Ferran Adrià, the head chef of El Bulli on Costa Brava, rebuilt his 53-course culinary experience as a gastronomic journey. Each course was a delicate formulation of flavors and textures carefully placed in a longer narrative to create complete culinary experience – almost like a series of lab experiments delivered to your table with silverware. He prefers to call himself a ‘deconstructivist’ than a practitioner of molecular gastronomy. He is not a gimmicky ‘foam’ maker to make a meal sensational. He creates cohesive experiences and uses scientific techniques like culinary foam or freeze drying with liquid nitrogen as a tool to make his stories.
El Bulli was open only six months in a year from mid-June to mid-December. The rest of the year was spent in creating the courses and service to great perfection. In 2011 El Bulli, the restaurant was closed and became an innovation center that explored the inter-relationship between culinary arts and other faculties of art or sciences. El Bulli Lab in Barcelona is still pushing boundaries bridging the gap between food, art, design and science as you can see in this tell-all video below.
Though I have not had the opportunity to go to El Bulli (did not have the money or the maturity) Ferran Adrià has always been an inspiration. Read more about him here.