While food has long been considered a form of art, this claim has been recently taken very literally by the world’s leading chefs and restaurants. Borrowing ideas from classic and contemporary art pieces and exhibits, culinary masters are being inspired by the creativity of artists and their paint palettes as they design and create their dishes - be it plating, thematically curating menus, or even deciding which ingredients to bring together.
For instance, for the past five months, iconic LA Chef Craig Thornton has been serving up multi-course meals as part of a room-size art installation at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. His rococo themed menu has colourful & complex dishes such as melange of grilled rib-eye, creamed kimchi, beef tongue, Asian pear and crispy shallot arranged under a purple squid-ink dumpling, all plated in clean, contemporary serving plates to match the Museum’s vibe. Similarly, at the world’s current leading restaurant, Osteria Francescana in Modena, Chef Massimo serves a beautifully poached veal steak with Damien Hirst style psychedelic rings of balsamic vinegar, yam pulp, raspberry coulis and horseradish shavings, all dished up right in front of the original painting that inspired the dish. And Chef Ashay Dhopatkar at À Ta Maison in New Delhi is curating a night of 10 dishes re-imagined by 10 contemporary Indian artists.
So, as Chefs begin to bring the delights of an artist’s palette to our palates, we can look forward to an infusion of innovation & creativity in contemporary world cuisine. And as the experience of dining becomes even more multi-sensory than it was before, let us rejoice - after all, meals will now not only be a feast for the mouth, but also a feast for the eyes and a true feast for the soul.