On Art and Cooking

An art lecture just before supper during Studio Italia

The bliss of cooking has been depicted not only in movies but also in the culinary art produced by visual artists contemporary to Alberti and Maestro Martini. As told by Giorgio Vasari, there was a group of twelve artists and poets who formed La compagnia del Paiuolo, a sort of creative culinary club in Florence during the 16th century, and every member had to provide a creative contribution to a meal in terms of gastronomy and aesthetics. In his Lives of the Artists, Vasari describes Andrea del Sarto’s input as follows “an octagonal temple like the Baptistery, with columns made from sausages, with bases and capitals carved out of parmesan, pediments of sugar work, a marble floor of meat brawn, and inside, a lectern with a huge folio made of sheets of lasagna, with music and letters formed from whole peppercorns, and a choir complete with choristers impersonated by various roast birds”. Fortunately, we do not need to go through all this extravagant work in our kitchen to achieve a sense of work of art. However, this anecdote makes us wonder about those artists’ perception of the potential of food and cooking as a form of art. Moreover, it is no coincidence that artists in general are also good cooks, for they probably apply the same imaginative principles to both disciplines.

At icscis/walkthearts we love creative cooking and we believe that a unique meal can be lived as an art experience. This is why discussions around gastronomic meals are indeed a highlight of our painting workshops in Tuscany and Provence.  We learned how to cook by working out hundreds of times our recipes for  Studio Italia and Atelier Provence painters, as well as for family and friends, and by tasting authentic dishes and new flavours in so may restaurants all over Italy and France.

Also, from time to time we offer cooking classes at the LCBO in Ottawa. Our classes are entitled A taste of Italian Art  and our original recipes are inspired in works of art.  Next one will take place on Tuesday June 5th. Check out LCBO’s featured chefs at the following link: http://www.lcbo.com/learn/chef_profile_class_marquez-larocque.shtml

“Taste Experience” LCBO Spring 2012

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