When you go to cooking school or work as a chef you are in the business of creating beautiful tasty dishes from items that were previously alive. On the metro coming home from Le Cordon Bleu I was lost in thought pondering why we do this? Why do we bother to take so much time to prepare food? Why is there a need to make dead things beautiful and tasty? Obviously my last few experiences butchering animals have seeded my desire to understand haute cuisine motivation.
If you are a chef then you’re in the business of life and death. Of making dead things beautiful again and by doing so turning them into a work of art and extending their life in a new way. When the consumer eats a delicious meal he is digesting other lives that will in turn live on in him. Just like when we die, theoretically we become part of the earth that becomes fertilizer continuing our lives in a different capacity – the continuous life cycle.
But a chef briefly stops that cycle between life and decomposition and creates an experience dually in one person. If the meal is exquisite then the memory will remain as well as providing nourishment for the body.
We all have a desire to leave something to the next generation, a mark that says we won’t be forgotten, and great chefs do that through their brief magical incarnations of death to art to life.
Deep, I know….but I AM in the city of philosophy…et viola!