February 3, 2013

It’s possible to see cooking as art or utility, because we have to eat to survive. (We don’t need paintings or music to survive. After all, some people are deaf or blind.) A chef can be an artist or a service provider. When you see a restaurant as a service provider (or utility company), you might prefer that they provide as many choices and options as possible. The cooks in those situations are just extensions of your hands, like a cleaning service; something you could do yourself but you would rather hire someone else to do. You would want to dictate exactly what you want, what/how you would have cooked yourself. Great many choices/options are often available at cheap restaurants because they do not see cooking as art but as a service. This is how Craft Restaurant was when I went there with my wife. We had to decide what ingredients we wanted and how we wanted them cooked. It took forever for us to order. Their chef is not an artist; he is just a service provider, which was annoying to me because I don’t want to pay over a hundred dollars for a dinner to a utility company, although I’m perfectly willing to pay the same amount to an artist/gallery.

When you see cooking as art, the point is to experience artist’s creativity. It would make no sense for you to interfere with the artist’s creativity. It’s like going to see a string quartet perform at a concert hall, and deciding to get up on stage, push the violin player off the stage and start playing it yourself even though you don’t really know how to play it. Even more annoyingly, imagine if the players kept asking what pieces you want to hear, and how exactly you want them to play, as if they are a jukebox or a wedding band.

Artists need to take responsibilities for their own creations; both successes and failures. They shouldn’t shift those responsibilities to the audience. That is a cop-out.