I took some time off yesterday to ponder this dilemma that I encountered in my mind: should chefs be artists? In saying that that’s part of the Love Letters to Chefs mission, am I asking chefs to be something they don’t want to be? Can’t they simply be chefs?
I went back to the first moment in culinary school when I was inspired to take on that mission. You’ve probably read the story here, but when I first heard the teaching chef who was plating a dish declare that he wasn’t an artist, I knew that I wanted for him to see the truth about his gifts.
I’m now not sure that comparing chefs and artists is justified to begin with. Maybe if that chef had said, “I’m not the most artistic chef”, I wouldn’t be here.
But that’s the vision. That we’ll one day full own being a chef or a culinary artist or whatever label might suit us.
Without sounding too judgemental, whenever I’m served bad cooking by friends or family, I get a gentle reminder: this is why chefs were put on this earth, to fulfill a truly valid purpose.
So for now, please forgive the weightiness of the title and know that behind it is an intention to show you the truth about your work.