Chefs as Artists


“All great artists and thinkers are great workers, indefatigable not only in inventing, but also in rejecting, sifting, transforming, ordering.” — Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human (1878) 

Ah, the “chef as artist” business. It’s a notion that gets tossed around a lot, isn’t it? We’ve been dissecting plate presentations everyday our waking moment as chefs, and then you bring up old Nietzsche, that fellow with the impressive moustache. He hits the nail on the head, doesn’t he? All these great minds, toiling away like tireless farmers, not just planting grand ideas but weeding them out, nurturing the good ones, and shaping them into something truly beautiful. It’s enough to make you want to grab a handful of the freshest herbs and retreat to a quiet corner for some serious contemplation, wouldn’t you say?

The thing about a truly stunning plate, it’s not just the bustling kitchen symphony – the rhythmic chopping, the satisfying sizzle of the pan. It’s the quiet moments too. The stolen glances at dog-eared cookbooks, the daydreams where flavors dance on your tongue and textures mingle like ingredients in a perfect vinaigrette. It’s the relentless tinkering, the endless pursuit of balance, that moment where a single perfectly placed basil leaf elevates a dish from “good” to “oh my word, this is a revelation.”

I saw this short film for Guy Savoy from a decade ago, as an experienced cook who just graduated from culinary school. You see a plate like a masterpiece by Guy Savoy – the one that left you breathless – and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. I can imagine. Breath stolen, spine tingling – pure, unadulterated inspiration.  Every perfect plate is a story whispered over time. It’s the long hours in the kitchen, the chopping and stirring, the love you put into every step.

But those plates, my dear, they’re the culmination of countless hours, countless tweaks and refinements. It’s a slow simmer, not a quick boil. Still, that spark you felt? Hold onto it, nurture it. It’s the seed of something extraordinary. But it’s also the quiet moments, the daydreams where flavors dance and textures come together. It’s the sifting, the choosing, the endless tinkering that turns good food into something truly special.

This chef’s life, it ain’t easy. But if that film sparked a fire in your soul, then hold onto that flame. It’s the fire of your potential burning bright. So keep practicing, keep experimenting. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – some of the most delightful dishes are born from happy accidents. And above all, savor the journey. The joy of a dish perfectly executed, the quiet satisfaction of a flavor that sings on the palate – these are the rewards of the tireless chef-artist. Remember, even the simplest plate, with a bit of love and dedication, can become a work of art, a testament to your passion for the beautiful alchemy of food.

Keep learning, keep creating, and remember, every plate is a chance to share your story with the world.


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