Painting A Portrait

The dictionary defines an artist as a person who produces works in any of the arts that are primarily subject to aesthetic criteria. Does this mean that chef’s are considered artists, since they produce meals that are pleasing to see and eat? Artists use mediums like paint and clay and metal to bring their creations to life. Musicians are considered artists because music is composed of notes through instruments that inspire emotion in listeners. If a chef’s medium is food, and since they use all five senses to please, are they considered artists as well?

Chef’s can use seasonality to define a menu, and cause memories in a patron just by certain foods. If a slice of pumpkin pie doesn’t inspire feelings of autumn, then cooks can showcase their own feelings through a simple type of cuisine. For example, Alice Waters brings organic California-influenced cuisine to mind, while Rick Bayless constantly redefines what can be considered Nuevo Latino cuisine. At an even more detailed spectrum, chef’s like Ferran Adria and Grant Achatz use deconstruction and avant-garde cooking techniques to redesign how we perceive food, and manipulate the senses into thinking that one item may actually be something else. A perfect example is Achatz’s hot and cold potato soup. A hot potato is served on a needle made of sugar in a cold soup. It allows for multiple sensations at once. Not to mention these famous culinarians work the plate better than the rest, creating meals that are as amazing to look at as they are to eat.

Some chef’s don’t agree with the idea that cooking is an art form. Chef Jimmy Schmidt says, “I think it’s safer to call (cooking) a craft. To capture the impression… of a certain mood or feeling is a lot tougher in food than it is in other media.” and Joyce Goldstein states, “A craftsperson is one who masters technique… and that comes from practice, which is where school really helps a lot.” (Culinary Artistry, Dornenburg and Page, 1996). Culture plays a direct influence on the craft as well, with each chef becoming a master of cuisines in order to further develop their own. Each cuisine is broken up into distinct groups, where flavors, spices, faith, and geography all coincide. One cook may master French technique in France, but be influenced by growing up in Morocco in the selection of spices. Is this the true art? The blending of cuisines world’s apart in order to convey a message through food?

While the debate over cooking as an art form may never truly be answered, it does open up some great possibilities. Where will cooking go in the future, and how will that effect the choices of future culinary students and foodies? I feel that through time, and a clear understanding of what a diner really wants out the meal, a chef can bring the craft to the level of art. Although it takes immense talent, and I’ll be the first one to say that not all chefs have this, there are those of us who would push the envelope. Those who paint a portrait through food.

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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
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            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
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            • Gives students the opportunity to earn their associate’s degree in the culinary arts field in less than 15 months or bachelor’s degree in the food service management field in 2.5 years through their year-round schedule.
            • Located in Norfolk and Newport News, Virginia.
            • Offers externship experiences to students for experience in the field.
            • Hosts regular career fairs for employer recruitment.
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            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
            • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
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            • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
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            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
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            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
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            • Its student-faculty ratio is 12:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
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            The Chef's Academy , Indianapolis
            • Listed on the 2013 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS).
            • Offers intern and externship placement assistance for real-world experience.
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            • Accredited by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation (ACFEF).
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