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Thread: Cooking as Art or Craft?

  1. #11

    ecchef's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaybett View Post
    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
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  2. #12
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    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.

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    Senior Member Keith Neal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaybett View Post
    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
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  4. #14
    Still Plays With Blocks
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaybett View Post
    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.

  5. #15
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    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.
    "In Japan they don't call it Japanese food, they just call it food." -- Children's Hospital Quote

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    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? 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 ]

  7. #17

    ecchef's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mr drinky View Post
    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?
    Though I could not caution all I still might warn a few; Don't raise your hand to raise no flag atop no ship of fools. - Robert Hunter

  8. #18

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    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?

  9. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by bieniek View Post
    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? Did you tried cooking with headphones on? At sea? At night? Minus 15 drinking vodka griling steak outside? Blindfolded?

    You lost me here.

    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 ]
    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.
    Though I could not caution all I still might warn a few; Don't raise your hand to raise no flag atop no ship of fools. - Robert Hunter

  10. #20

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    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

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