Is great cooking an artform?

That was the subject of debate on Radio 4s Today programme this morning. (Listen again here)
Chef Rick Stein believes cooking should be considered as art.
Taking the opposing view, art critic Tom Lubbock believes that food falls firmly into the craft category, his argument seeming to be based mainly on the basis that the transitory nature of the experience somehow devalues it.
How so Mr Lubbock? What about theatre, or music or any other form of performance for that matter?
Just because the play has ended doesn’t make it any less of an art form. There’s always the script to hand on to the next generation of players or the score to hand on the musical baton through the ages.
Sounds a bit like a recipe book to me.
So while I’d have to agree that not all food is equal ( in just the same way that not all weekend daubers are great artists) I think Rick’s right.
Great cooking can elevate the spirits and feed the soul just as well as any other of the arts and it may cheer him to know that wikipedia has already classified “culinary arts” as worthy of a listing!
What do you think? Art or craft?


2 thoughts on “Is great cooking an artform?

  1. It could be argued that great cooking is an artform which cannot really be duplicated. I prove my above assertion by the following statement:-
    If you ask two expert chefs to cook the same dish to an exacting specification/recipe. A decerning diner will taste the difference in the two dishes even when, for all intents and purposes, they are the same. The difference in taste is in the hand and not in the recipe. I, therefore, conclude that cooking is indeed an artform based on the above logic.
    Being in the restaurant/food business, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of people. To my astonishment, I found something that bothered me for a while for I could not explain what i witnessed. I came across people once in a while who possessed the magic touch. Their cooking was simply out of this world. It was art and at the same time much much more… There were no visible differetiatiing features in the way they attempted cooking yet their results were amazing. I say that because of actual feedback from diners…


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