Are you aware of the lengths that the artists of old went to in order to bring life to their work? From toxic substances to animal bones, from precious gemstones to insects – all were highly prized because only these pigments could impart the rich hues sought by the great masters.

The brightest reds were derived from the cochineal bug. The rare gemstone lapis lazuli was ground up to colour the robes of the most revered religious figures. Burnt animal bones gave artists a black with a greater depth to its darkness. The green pigment gave off arsenic and continuous exposure to it caused ailments in the artists.

But what mattered to them was that their work leapt out of its two-dimensional existence.

As chefs, we have it relatively easy. It’s not a case of us having to try so hard. Our ingredients all come from living things, and therefore, they still hold some of that life energy. That’s what makes them perishable.

What we have to do is to tap into that life energy if we want to bring the best out of our food. 


Life energy

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