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mr drinky
10-07-2011, 11:12 PM
I'm feeling a bit philosophical after reading an article in Gastronomica called "The Art in Gastronomy."

To over simplify it, the author and notable tree killer, Nathan Myhrvold, talks about art as engaging us in intellectual and emotional ways whereas craft is more about the process: production, organization, and management.

It was an interesting read, but are you cooks out there making art or practicing a craft. Or both? Or neither?

k.

DwarvenChef
10-07-2011, 11:20 PM
I'm definatly Craft leaning side than what I see as Art cooking. As many will have varing views on this subject, and we should, I don't have a passion to creat something new for the sake of creation. I do like to come up with new stuff but it's close to something old with just a tweek here and there. The art side I see and cutting edge "visual" food as much as flavor.

In the broad sense though Baking is the science of cooking as wehre the stovetop and roasts are the art. Baking is ridged in it's chemecal reactions to create something. Stove top and roasts have a broad array of "Play" involved that allow for a freedom of will to take hold.

My thoughts...

Vertigo
10-07-2011, 11:33 PM
Practicing a craft. I'm a skilled laborer, not an artist. I think you have to be passionate to make art, and cooking isn't my passion, it's my profession.

mr drinky
10-08-2011, 12:02 AM
A theme that kept coming up in the article was this idea that art gastronomy is creating a dialogue between chef and diner.

k.

ThEoRy
10-08-2011, 12:24 AM
The answer is yes.

Vertigo
10-08-2011, 12:33 AM
A theme that kept coming up in the article was this idea that art gastronomy is creating a dialogue between chef and diner.

k.
Yikes. Really? Here's the thing: there are a lot more construction workers than architects, and our "foodie culture" has every jerkoff with a pan and an apron thinking he's Franklin Lloyd Wright when truth be told, most these people aren't fit to build a 7-11. You don't want to have a dialogue with the chef, chances are he's a dick who thinks there are subtleties in the four cheese blend he put in his sue-vee mashed potatoes. It's onanistic self-aggrandizement spawned by decades of sophists rationalizing their menial career paths, prodded on by the Food Network and the ever-flowing dollar bills of armchair gastronomists and their pedestrian tastes, who need desperately to feel that this hamburger was better than the last.

It's food. There may be six or seven people on the planet who are doing anything "artistic" with it. The rest of us are just playing ketchup, and kidding ourselves into making it seem less mundane than it really is.

apicius9
10-08-2011, 12:39 AM
Yikes. Really? Here's the thing: there are a lot more construction workers than architects, and our "foodie culture" has every jerkoff with a pan and an apron thinking he's Franklin Lloyd Wright when truth be told, most these people aren't fit to build a 7-11. You don't want to have a dialogue with the chef, chances are he's a dick who thinks there are subtleties in the four cheese blend he put in his sue-vee mashed potatoes. It's onanistic self-aggrandizement spawned by decades of sophists rationalizing their menial career paths, prodded on by the Food Network and the ever-flowing dollar bills of armchair gastronomists and their pedestrian tastes, who need desperately to feel that this hamburger was better than the last.

It's food. There may be six or seven people on the planet who are doing anything "artistic" with it. The rest of us are just playing ketchup, and kidding ourselves into making it seem less mundane than it really is.


My favorite post in a long time!

Stefan

sachem allison
10-08-2011, 12:40 AM
Cash is what creates a dialog between the chef and diner. I am a craftsman it is who i am and what I do. I was a sculptor for a lot of years and made Native American jewelry on the pow wow and Native arts circuit. I have been to hundreds of art shows and I know thousands of artists, and the ones that need to eat call themselves craftsman and the ones that don't need the money call themselves artists.
There are a lot of artists and chefs out there with no skills or talent that make money as artists. The ones with talent often time are exceptional craftsman. The problem with people who write these articles is that they rarely ever actually talk to the common man or the craftsman. They only talk to the flavor of the month or the guy with the good pr person.
Food as art, okay. food that satisfies the soul much better. People used to say, wow your a great artist and I used to say no I'm just a poor craftsman. Don't get me wrong there are amazing artists out there, that can make you feel every emotion with a word, image, sound, taste or touch and I applaud them and respect them. There is something to be said about the well crafted tools that allow them to do what they do so well. Once in a while one of those craftsman reaches artistic heights and we remember them for their art and forget they were craftsman first. ( Leonardo, Michelangelo and Stradivarius.)
No I would rather be remembered as a craftsman. The patrons of art are so fickle.

ecchef
10-08-2011, 02:11 AM
Yikes. Really? Here's the thing: there are a lot more construction workers than architects, and our "foodie culture" has every jerkoff with a pan and an apron thinking he's Franklin Lloyd Wright when truth be told, most these people aren't fit to build a 7-11. You don't want to have a dialogue with the chef, chances are he's a dick who thinks there are subtleties in the four cheese blend he put in his sue-vee mashed potatoes. It's onanistic self-aggrandizement spawned by decades of sophists rationalizing their menial career paths, prodded on by the Food Network and the ever-flowing dollar bills of armchair gastronomists and their pedestrian tastes, who need desperately to feel that this hamburger was better than the last.

It's food. There may be six or seven people on the planet who are doing anything "artistic" with it. The rest of us are just playing ketchup, and kidding ourselves into making it seem less mundane than it really is.
+1


Cash is what creates a dialog between the chef and diner. I am a craftsman it is who i am and what I do.
+2

I agree wholeheartedly. Dining out is like going to the opera. There's no dialogue between the audience and the cast & conductor. You go to enjoy the experience and be satisfied internally. Of course it's engaging, but the relationship is the individual reacting to the results of other people's labour, not with the labourers themselves. I write recipes, use ingredients & techniques, and plate food guided (not dictated) by my own style. If a customer has some sort of epiphany in the dining room, all the better; but that doesn't open the door for him/her to come into the kitchen and initiate a discussion. That right & privilege is reserved only for fellow chefs.

"Art gastronomy" has a distinctly unpleasant ring to it, like "casual sex". Means nothing, lasts but a moment, and may necessitate a trip to the doctor shortly threrafter.

jaybett
10-08-2011, 03:28 AM
Craftsmanship is learning techniques on how to make something. Experience, trail and error, improve and refine technique. Art often times gets confused with techniques. Especially when the uninitiated, experience a dish, they might think the cook is artistic instead of using a proven technique.

There are always the people, who do not want to put in the time and effort to learn techniques, and claim its artistic freedom, when in reality it is laziness. People at the top of their fields, have developed techniques that become known as their style.

The term artistic is thrown around casually either to dress up a mundane activity as Vertigo suggests in his post or to describe some vague idea such as dialogue between chef and diner. Artistry, which is revolutionary instead of evolutionary is rare.

Jay

ecchef
10-08-2011, 04:07 AM
Craftsmanship is learning techniques on how to make something. Experience, trail and error, improve and refine technique. Art often times gets confused with techniques. Especially when the uninitiated, experience a dish, they might think the cook is artistic instead of using a proven technique.

There are always the people, who do not want to put in the time and effort to learn techniques, and claim its artistic freedom, when in reality it is laziness. People at the top of their fields, have developed techniques that become known as their style.

The term artistic is thrown around casually either to dress up a mundane activity as Vertigo suggests in his post or to describe some vague idea such as dialogue between chef and diner. Artistry, which is revolutionary instead of evolutionary is rare.

Jay

Thank you.

sw2geeks
10-08-2011, 04:26 AM
Interesting topic, I am a graphic artist by trade that loves to cook and take pictures of what I make. I think the art for me rubs off more in the photography that combines two things I love to do.

Keith Neal
10-08-2011, 05:38 AM
Craftsmanship is learning techniques on how to make something. Experience, trail and error, improve and refine technique. Art often times gets confused with techniques. Especially when the uninitiated, experience a dish, they might think the cook is artistic instead of using a proven technique.

There are always the people, who do not want to put in the time and effort to learn techniques, and claim its artistic freedom, when in reality it is laziness. People at the top of their fields, have developed techniques that become known as their style.

The term artistic is thrown around casually either to dress up a mundane activity as Vertigo suggests in his post or to describe some vague idea such as dialogue between chef and diner. Artistry, which is revolutionary instead of evolutionary is rare.

Jay

Agreed. As an example, I make a cheesecake that a particularly well traveled friend calls "the definitive cheesecake" and thinks I am a culinary genius. But it is Craig Claiborne's recipe (Craig Claiborne's Favorites). I leave out the hazelnuts, garnish with a little red currant glaze and raspberries, and serve with an Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale de Modena which has been aged 27 years in Cherry wood barrels (Acetaia Di Georgio) and is particularly good on desserts. It is marvelous, but I am not the artist. I am just a home cook who can follow the directions of the artist and use good ingredients.

Keith

The BoardSMITH
10-08-2011, 06:40 AM
Craftsmanship is learning techniques on how to make something. Experience, trail and error, improve and refine technique.

Actually, an apprentice is the one learning the techniques required and the craftsman is the person who knows the techniques and teaches the apprentice how to put them to use in an end product. A craftsman follows the learned and refined techniques like a chef/cook will follow a recipe to produce a dish that will satisfy. Each will add to that item to make it their own.

Is cooking art or craft? I believe it is a little of each mixed in with some special magic which will make a dish special.

mr drinky
10-08-2011, 08:14 AM
Yeah, that dialog b/n chef and diner is a tricky one. Only experience I have had is at Alinea. Achatz send out dishes with aromas. One of his most famous ones is sending out pheasant skewered on oak leaf twigs and the leaves are smoldering to give that smell of fall and burning leaves. Ok, I can identify with that, but what about a young kid who grew up in New York City?

He also said in the dialog requires some sort of 'gastronomic' memory to tap into to be successful.

k.

bieniek
10-08-2011, 09:55 AM
I have to disagree with most of them posts here... Starting to think, is it so much of a difference cause of culture, or its just america??

Cooking without the passion for it? Damn, that must be pretty restless. I cannot imagine myself doing 20 hour shifts [do you call them AFD also? :)]
I must admit, I met some people claiming that rubish, but why would you call yourself a chef then?
I also 200% cannot even fit it into my skull how could you just learn techniques and make constant repetition instead of pushing borders? It sounds like a lot but why wouldnt you try with simple things first? Like croutons, how are you so sure your way is the best?
What is the set of "must know techniques" - is all of you doing those the same way?, maybe we could arrange photo thread called "my ultimate-quenelle"
Did you ever used huge ladle to serve ice cream ball? I would say 4 out of liter? :D Did you tried cooking with headphones on? At sea? At night? Minus 15 drinking vodka griling steak outside? Blindfolded?

Is there any ultimate-recipe there? I thought it was always depending on the chef how the final product would be executed, even if tastes different, due to him have bigger hands than the one who wrote recipe and thus adding more seasoning.

Thats why traveling expands you as a chef, cause you taste difference. Your pallet grows, and when you know flavors, its easier to mix them. Someone else did already? Thats OK, we are all just people chasing the rabbit. But everyone have his own little ****** to run behind.

And personally I find it same-same-but-different to knife makers. Some say Kramer is an Artist, or whoever from this forum or another. But are they? What are they doing is just getting good at what they do. Nothing more, nothing else. Just like 90% cooks who claim its there profession only. The rest have the drive to have fun with food and thats what makes them chefs.
I was always thinking real talent and artistry is a modest dude who never seen piano before but when he does, he seats his arse and play. Was there many of them?
And so, If a chef does something noone else did before, is it laziness for not trying old good recipes? [excluding stupid dumb ideas like fluid chicken and solid curry sauce :D]

ecchef
10-08-2011, 10:37 AM
Ok, I can identify with that, but what about a young kid who grew up in New York City?

k.

Stinking homeless guys on the 'E' train?

Eamon Burke
10-08-2011, 10:50 AM
Home cooking : Painting a mural :: Pro cooking : Painting a house



Craft is a way of making a living, through skill-based labor, typically with a master-apprentice relationship for career training.

Art isn't anything. Didn't Warhol prove that?

ecchef
10-08-2011, 11:12 AM
I have to disagree with most of them posts here... Starting to think, is it so much of a difference cause of culture, or its just america??

Cooking without the passion for it? Damn, that must be pretty restless. I cannot imagine myself doing 20 hour shifts [do you call them AFD also? :)]

Why? Is the workforce in Norway so creative and unrestricted that they have absolute control over the details of their jobs?


I must admit, I met some people claiming that rubish, but why would you call yourself a chef then?

Uh, because being a "Chef" is more than just being a dilettante playing around in the kitchen. It's managing a business. Which takes a lot of time and effort away from cooking.

I also 200% cannot even fit it into my skull how could you just learn techniques and make constant repetition instead of pushing borders?

That's called consistancy. How would you like to go to your favorite restaurant for a particular item that you absolutely love, and then find it different every time?

It sounds like a lot but why wouldnt you try with simple things first? Like croutons, how are you so sure your way is the best?
What is the set of "must know techniques" - is all of you doing those the same way?, maybe we could arrange photo thread called "my ultimate-quenelle"

Because without proper mastery of basic technique, you have nothing to build upon. And any bastardized concoction that results will garner you the dubious title of "Shoemaker".

Did you ever used huge ladle to serve ice cream ball? I would say 4 out of liter? :D Did you tried cooking with headphones on? At sea? At night? Minus 15 drinking vodka griling steak outside? Blindfolded?

You lost me here. :scratchhead:

Is there any ultimate-recipe there? I thought it was always depending on the chef how the final product would be executed, even if tastes different, due to him have bigger hands than the one who wrote recipe and thus adding more seasoning.

Refer back to technique.

Thats why traveling expands you as a chef, cause you taste difference. Your pallet grows, and when you know flavors, its easier to mix them. Someone else did already? Thats OK, we are all just people chasing the rabbit. But everyone have his own little ****** to run behind.

And personally I find it same-same-but-different to knife makers. Some say Kramer is an Artist, or whoever from this forum or another. But are they? What are they doing is just getting good at what they do. Nothing more, nothing else. Just like 90% cooks who claim its there profession only. The rest have the drive to have fun with food and thats what makes them chefs.

Production cooks who are like machines, cranking out the same stuff day after day, PRECISELY & CONSISTANTLY, are more infinitely valuable than a Kramer knife.

I was always thinking real talent and artistry is a modest dude who never seen piano before but when he does, he seats his arse and play. Was there many of them?

W.A. Mozart. Maybe someone with Savant Syndrome. But is that artistry?

And so, If a chef does something noone else did before, is it laziness for not trying old good recipes? [excluding stupid dumb ideas like fluid chicken and solid curry sauce :D]

Molecular gastronomy aside, chances are that at least part of is rooted in established culinary practice. Is it laziness to attempt to recreate an Escoffier menu as it would have been originally produced?

I'm not trying to be a dick to you, bieniek, but you asked a lot of questions, so I gave a lot of answers. No offense meant.

bieniek
10-08-2011, 01:14 PM
Non taken. Why would I?

But lets talk:)

So, I dont know nor give any crap how is workforce in Norway. To myself I think bad things as apart from one restaurant in Stavanger, one place I work now and supposedly one in Sandefjord are clean, the rest is dirty shiteholes. I mean, when you wash kitchen, its for the kitchen to be clean, not to be washed. But not here. Thats why my plan is to stay until my girl have to go to school, then flee back to England. I dont care who thinks what, for me english kitchen system works well. You meet 30 year old equipments there shiny like new, you meet decarbonizers and strict hygiene standards with high punishment, if you let go. Not everywhere? OK, dont go there then, haha.

So youre saying office work is more important then actual cooking? OK. I would say not, but of course is tight together. Not arguing about it, but to get to stage where you have to care about it, theres this thing called experience.

Consistency my friend is when you can repeat perfectly your best service everyday. We are arguing one small detail here.
So explain, what about those places where chefs go to market, buy produce and cook a menu of it everyday? If thats my favorite place, what should I expect?
I would just let the chef show me the passion for details and chasing the rabbit.

Name them, please, name the "basic techniques".

So youre suggesting that all of so called chefs have mastered theyre basic tecnique? Well, OK, no arguing about it. But the world seems perfect.

What I meant about the ice cream ladle[please try it, its so much fun] is to have fun of your job, plus chef is somebody who is working 24/7. You think constantly how to use whatever you see in the fun of creating. Not crazy flavoured 3 star dishes, but just simple things for yourself.
So If you have a customer who asks 4 scoops of vanilla instead of 3, there he gets, vanilla snowball :)

You can produce cook, you cannot produce chef. At some point a chef will break out and start thinking. Some experiments will have total failure, some not, but experiments are what brings fun to me, personally.

About the Mozart, look at wider picture

Eamon Burke
10-08-2011, 01:27 PM
The comparison to Mozart is an apt one, in that in Mozart's time, music was not the free-form, devil-may-care kind of exhibition it is today. Music was a trained craft, where a master taught an apprentice how music works. Things were considered 'bad' and 'good', and there were rules. Straying from the rules was not encouraged, it was considered a lack of discipline. If one could produce the same exact piece of music every night, he was a master musician.

In this metaphor, cooks are the musicians. They do exactly what they are supposed to do, consistently, intentionally, and with skill. Their passion is in subduing their egos and respecting the menu/music, for the benefit of appreciative customers/listeners. Not everyone can be a composer. You can spend your entire life playing music and never create. You can be a master composer, and a piss poor musician.

They are not the same thing, because they are simply different functions. The trouble with defining the line between "Art" and "Craft" is that there is a solid definition for a craft, or a trade, and the concept of "Art" is not only enternally debated, but there are folks such as Andy Warhol and Banksy who have shown over and over that Art is everything and nothing--it is so perceptually based, that not even the artist can know what it is. It is a shared illusion.

Art is camaraderie shared by conscious beings, and reassurance that we are not alone.

Delbert Ealy
10-08-2011, 08:20 PM
This was resolved for me 20 years ago or so after many discussions with my best friend in college. We had a 30-40min ride there and home and many long discussions. One day this issue came up, and we spent a week or so discussing it. What propted the discussion was Andres Serrano and whether his "creation" was art or not. I thought not and my friend thought it was. After much discussion, I came up with a personal definition of art that has worked for me to this day.
It is "Art is craft taken to excellence"
For me this worked then and works for me now.
So the answer to the original poster is I think it can be both.
(Neither me or my friend changed our position on Andres-I still think he was neither craftsman nor artist)
The nice thing about my personal definition is that it takes out some of the subjectivity out of defining art.
Thanks,
Del

Eamon Burke
10-08-2011, 08:29 PM
This was resolved for me 20 years ago or so after many discussions with my best friend in college. We had a 30-40min ride there and home and many long discussions. One day this issue came up, and we spent a week or so discussing it. What propted the discussion was Andres Serrano and whether his "creation" was art or not. I thought not and my friend thought it was. After much discussion, I came up with a personal definition of art that has worked for me to this day.
It is "Art is craft taken to excellence"
For me this worked then and works for me now.
So the answer to the original poster is I think it can be both.
(Neither me or my friend changed our position on Andres-I still think he was neither craftsman nor artist)
The nice thing about my personal definition is that it takes out some of the subjectivity out of defining art.
Thanks,
Del

I can get in on this, but I word it differently. I consider art and craft to be separate concepts, but I don't care for art. If you show me a painting that looks like slop on canvas, I don't care for it. If it looks like slop on canvas and there are 3 identical versions in different colors, I'm impressed. I consider the height of craft, or virtuosity, to be the illusion of intentionality. When everything you do is assumed to be done precisely on purpose, you have mastered your craft.

heirkb
10-08-2011, 09:09 PM
They are not the same thing, because they are simply different functions. The trouble with defining the line between "Art" and "Craft" is that there is a solid definition for a craft, or a trade, and the concept of "Art" is not only enternally debated, but there are folks such as Andy Warhol and Banksy who have shown over and over that Art is everything and nothing--it is so perceptually based, that not even the artist can know what it is. It is a shared illusion.

Art is camaraderie shared by conscious beings, and reassurance that we are not alone.

+1. Art debates are so based on subjective experiences that I really don't feel like it's worth it to try to convince people one way or another. Plenty of people hate Warhol and Banksy and think they're not artists, and plenty of people love them and consider them to be artists. I'm sure it's the same with how people feel about cooking. Who's to say one side has the right answer? Maybe the side that's convinced it's making art is happier, but it's certainly not the side with absolute authority over what is or isn't art (and the same goes for the other side and the in-betweens).

SpikeC
10-08-2011, 09:20 PM
What I do is art, everything else is crap.

MadMel
10-08-2011, 10:19 PM
For me it's neither. I feel that we are more like the museum guides. We guide our patrons/diners through the flavours that mother nature provides, in a certain order. That's my food philosophy anyway, simple, clean, direct, natural flavours. Nothing too much done to the ingredients so they retain their individuality and natural flavours.

mr drinky
10-08-2011, 10:34 PM
The closest to art I get is feeding my baby. That mango-banana puree is also an airplane landing in her mouth. If she smiles and eats it -- it is art.

k.

mano
10-09-2011, 09:06 AM
Food as art, okay. food that satisfies the soul much better.

That's it for me. It's true for wine (phuck Opus One), woman (my wife) and song (60's Motown), as well.