Monday 22 July 2019

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Cork Independent

Bia Sasta

Can food truly be art?

Wednesday, 7th November, 2018 4:39pm

Sometimes, the universe acts in the most amazing ways.

I am a huge fan of Frida Kahlo and planned to visit the current exhibition of her life in the V&A museum in London. I told Kate Ryan about my plans and she mentioned that Frida Kahlo was an accomplished cook herself and loved entertaining.

So, when I finally went to the exhibition, I was looking out for any reference to food (I know, I get excited way too easily) and there it was. She truly loved to cook and painted food in many of her creations.

The same day, I came across a charity shop in London (I love looking for old cookbooks) and found a book called The Modern Art Cookbook and now guess what – it contained not only images of Frida’s art but also her recipe for Red Snapper Veracruz style!

The paintings showcased in the book included Cezanne, Picasso, Van Gogh and many more – and all these painters have also their recipes included.

Seeing all these recipes and paintings of food, one might ask if food is art? Looking at creations from Ross Lewis of Chapter 1 in Dublin or JP McMahon of Aniar in Galway and even Bryan McCarthy of Greenes here in Cork, one might be forgiven to believe they are looking at a piece of art rather than a plate of delicious food.

I am one of these annoying people who take photos of their food (my phone is full of photos of food I have cooked or eaten and not too many of people).

Unless the light is right, most photos taken at restaurants won’t do the food justice and I understand chefs like Ross Lewis who once told me that he would rather take the photo for his guest in the kitchen under good light, than to see a less flattering image online a day later. Saying that, it hasn’t stopped me from taking photos.

Thankfully, I am not one of these ‘insta-perfect’ diners who take ages to ‘set the scene’ and then complain that the food is cold. I tend to just snap the photo and lift my fork to enjoy the wonderful food at its best.

But back to art and food – I know chefs who draw a picture first when creating a new dish to play around with arrangements and decorations, which result then in these beautifully plated ‘pretty as a picture’ platters.

I take these photos as I want to remember how they looked, get inspiration for my own cooking and plating and to share it with people who I believe will appreciate the artistry and work that went into the creation of these dishes.

Here is to the artists – those with a spoon and the ones with a brush.


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