Food Art: Meet the Chefs Who Make Dishes Almost Too Stunning to Eat
Food is first and foremost a necessity and that is why there is a substantial controversy in the discussion of whether food can be considered a form of art or not. There are critics that assume food art can be considered a craft as long as it is something not necessarily beautiful nor a statement but that nourishes our bodies, as chef Enrique Olvera told Surface Magazine:
“Food is more like a craft; not necessarily beautiful, not pretentious, and it doesn’t need a statement as long as it nourishes, covers our basic needs, and gives us pleasure. Food’s purpose is to see us smile, not to question our existence.”
Other top industry professionals quoted in Surface Magazine go further and accept it can be artistic when the chef is creating and experimenting with food (Ferran Adrià, chef), or just by the way that it has the power to raise your senses and touch you emotionally (Madeleine Grynsztejn, Director, MCA Chicago). However, they still do not consider it a form of art.
Those who defend food as art in the Surface Magazine article, however, agree on a general idea that when food is something carefully created by an expert involving all of his values and culture (Hallie Ringle, Assistant Curator, The Studio Museum in Harlem), combining all the senses (Dominique Ansel, chef) and being able to create memories and evoke feelings (Max Levai, Director, Marlborough Contemporary), then yes, food can be art, and the chef an artist. Furthermore, food might be a more intense type of art when compared to others such as painting or sculpture by the way it plays with all our senses intensely.
At LOVE HAPPENS we appreciate all things beautiful and unique created by talented people, whatever the skill is. However, we must agree with chef Camile Becerra when she says her goal is “ first and foremost to nourish people with my cooking”. Let’s be honest, no matter how drop dead gorgeous a dish is, or how extremely talented and famous the chef might be, if you can’t taste it after you have delighted your sight and smell with it, then there’s no point for it, don’t you agree? We have to be able to touch it, to feel the textures, to discover the main flavor or the twist ingredient that turns our world upside down after each bite.
In the search for the most beautiful dishes around the world that could show you how food can be art, we came across extremely talented chefs that vary from the Michelin star chef with a stellar curriculum to the Instagram self-taught chef now going viral for his work. Food presentation is today changing at full speed more than ever and we have found some highly expressive dishes in our search – from the flowery delicate King Crab soup of chef Zubeyir Ekicibasi to the dramatic “Pollock style” Blue Lobster Drama of chef Yann Bernard Lenard.
Join us now in this quick trip around the world going through what we believe are some of the most beautiful and unique dishes created so far.
Capellini Salad by Tadashi Takayama, Italy
There is something about this dish that reminds us of motherhood. I’m sorry if I have crushed your desire to keep reading this article, but bear with me for a moment. When we look at this dish, it appears as though nature is protecting its most precious gift. Delicate strings of turnip, carrot, and zucchini are intertwined with the help of violet petals and coriander forming a strong and yet light womb where life is being generated. This dish is a masterpiece by chef Tadashi Takayama, the Japanese chef that assumes cooking as his passion and currently is producing his “art” at Krèsios ITALY.
Mackerel, Tomato, Spinach, Mustard, and Dill by Chef David Vidal, Sweden
This secret dish looks as though it came straight out of a fairy tale. A green fairy powder dusts gracefully over carefully placed pieces of mackerel, tomato and spinach, which mask the hidden secret passage into a perfectly designed labyrinth. Who knows? Maybe this dish has come from a very early experience of the Canadian chef David Vidal, who started helping at his uncle’s confectionary alongside his father in Malta at the young age of 13.
Today he is the renowned Sous-Chef at Laholmen Hotel and a member of the Culinary Team West of Sweden.
King Crab By Chef Zubeyir Ekicibasi, Turkey
From delicate to dangerous, this dish has it all. It starts with a silky cream adorned with delicate flowers and leaves composed with generous portions of king crab, which together form a perfect colorful waxing quarter moon. But too much gentleness can be boring and so a defying king crab leg peaks on as if making sure we know who is the king in this stunning dish created by chef Zubeyir Ekicibasi, Jr., a Sous Chef working in Turkey – Antalya.
Blue Lobster Drama By Chef Yann Bernard Lejard, Bahrain
Chef Yann Bernard Lejard is living proof that food is art and the dish its canvas. Like the American painter Jackson Pollock played with colors and abstract drip paintings, his unique style, Chef Lejard expresses his creativity with splashes and drips of color mixed with food which go over the plate itself and then beyond it. It’s something magical to watch, the process of bringing to life a unique dish that nourishes our body, but most importantly shakes up our assumptions on how food should be prepared and presented. This is what happens when a chef brings all his values and culture, all his emotions and talent to the table. A dramatic love a air.
Herb crusted lamb rack, asparagus, romanesco, pea, avocado, and green curry avocado sauce by Chef Nick Pitthayanont (@royalebrat), Bangkok
Tricolor Zaru Soba with Ikura, qual egg, scallion and edible flowers by Chef Nick Pitthayanont (@Roylebrat), Bangkok
Chef Nick Pitthayanont delights us again with this beautifully appointed dish. Inspired by the popular Japanese cold noodle dish known as Zaru Soba, delicate tri-colored noodles are wound around chopsticks and elegantly draped into a bubbling bath of salmon caviar, known in Japan as ikura. Atop the nest of noodles rests an open quail egg, a traditional pairing to this dish, which is meant to be poured into the liquid just prior to eating. Cheerful purple, yellow, and orange dots, ribbons of scallion, and edible flowers complete this joyous work of art.
Related Article: Global Girl Boss: Xenia Zhang of Green Pepper and Red Pepper Food and Travel Show
Carved melon by Daniele Barresi, Australia
One ingredient, one talent. Daniele Barresi is an award-winning carving designer famous for his work with elements such as fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and soaps. What could be seen as a naïve play activity with a melon or an avocado is immediately set aside when we indulge in Barresi’s works of art. We can see through them into his soul, just like he says: “When I touch my knife, my mind gives up to the heart and transmits directly to the hands, giving different forms to the decorations. It’s like magic.”
Now, this dessert is very special. A perfect example of how the most simple of ingredients can be turned into the most luxurious of dishes. Let’s be honest, a pear isn’t very sexy on its own, is it? But put it together with flakes of gold leaf, a toffee sauce, and a pear sorbet and it all starts looking a lot more savory. But of course it’s not that simples, it takes a very skilled artist like the Michelin starred chef Jason Atherton to turn one of the most honest of fruits into this delicious lavish masterpiece.
Black forest by Chef Nick Pitthayanont @R Black Forest (@Royalebrat), Bangkok
Finally, and now with all your senses awakened, lose yourself into this magical creation of a sweet yet shadowy Black Forest, another masterpiece by chef Nick Pitthayanont. The color pallet and very distinct small details invite us to travel to the whimsical world of Hollywood movies where scenarios are dreamt and then materialized by geniuses and artists to support the imagined stories of screenwriters.
Originally published in Love Happens Magazine Volume II