Some of the world’s best chefs aged 50 and below are convening in Montpellier this weekend for Cookbook, the first exhibition of works by artists and chefs. Curated by Nicholas Bourriaud and Andrea Petrini, Cookbook 19 brings together chefs and artists as they explore the creative . The curators hope that the exhibition shows new relations between the food and art world, born of shared recent cultural revolutions.
The chefs and artists taking part in Cookbook 19 are Inaki Aizpirarte of Le Chateaubriand, Maksut Askar of Neolokal, Davide Balula, Esben Holmboe Bang of Maaemo, Dorian Bauer, Nicolas Boulard, Dannie Bowien of Mission Chinese Food, Manoella Buffara of Manu, Tiphaine Calmettes, Riccardo Camanini of Lido 84, Elise Carron, Jeremy Chan of Ikoyi, May Chow of Little Bao and Happy Paradise, Amanda Cohen of Dirty Candy, Mauro and Laura Colagreco of Mirazur, Cozinha Radicante with Roberto Cabot, Nicolas Daubanes, Thomas Frebel of Inua, Beth Galton, Tania Gheerbrant and Mahalia Kohnke-Jehl, Sakir Gokcebag, Rodolfo Guzman of Borago, Healthy Boy Band of Muhltahlhof, Mraz and Sohn and Der Seehof Goldegg, Jordan Kahn of Vespertine, Chiho Kanzaki of Virtus, Valentina Karga and Tessa Zettel, Antonia Klugmann of L’Argine a Venco, Esmeralda Kosmatopoulos, Alberto Landgraf of Oteque, Nadine Levy Redzepi, Richie Lin of Mume Taipei, Charlie Malgat, Virgilio Martinez of Central Restaurante, Fanny Maugey, Mathieu Mercier, Pole Fromage, Sean Raspet, Rene Redzepi of Noma, Niko Romito of Reale, Ana Ros of Hisa Franko, Colombe Saint-Pierre of Chez St Pierre, Gilles Stassart, Natsuko Uchino, Melanie Villemot and Zoe Williams.
The exhibition opens on 9 February and will be open till 12 May 2019. It is being held at the La Panacee, Montpellier Contemporain.
Chef Inaki Aizpitarte will offer a tasting of charcuterie on marble that he found in Italy which is the art piece he presents but which also serves as the medium to serve the food.
The Healthy Boy Band from Austria will also be live with their Copy Shop installation. Danny Bowien gives a live music and culinary performance centred around the body and the pressures of being a chef while Colombe St Pierre will present a collection of clothes that have been created from food waste.
This is the second time that Cookbook is held. In 2013, Nicholas and Andrea co-curated Cookbook at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Paris. It was the first ever exhibition that confronted visual artists and chefs within the same space. Five years later, they have decided to continue the project also because they believe that in 2013, the subject was not exhausted enough. “In 2013, we had artists on one side and chefs on the other from Ferran Adria and Pierre Gagnaire generation to Rodolfo Guzman’s. Five years later we’ve decided to give it another go. But this time we are inviting artists and chefs from the same generations whose projects will be shown side by side,” said Nicholas Bourriaud.
Andrea Petrini agreed that they had not gone far enough in 2013. “We toyed with the idea but in the end, we did not have the courage to go all the way, to engage in discussion, mix both fields and make them cohabit.”
Petrini believes that since the first Cookbook exhibition there has been radical change in the restaurant world to the extent that nearly everything has changed.
Bourriaud said that while in the first exhibition most chefs approached visual art, often through drawing as an annex or a comment to their real work, today it is more of an extension of it. “Installations are now part of their natural repertoire,” he said.
Petrini said they had to rethink the exhibition because of the kind of works that are going to be exhibited for this edition. “This wasn’t imaginable five years ago, and it’s totally unexpected. What happened – I’m still talking about chefs here – is that 2013 was the end of an era marked by classical lifestyle and economic models, with prerequisite stages and milestones for a chef: first a small restaurant, then a major restaurant, a great destiny; but it was also the onset of a much more hybrid, chaotic, barbaric period, more or less at the mercy of media. It was the beginning of the current era. Nowadays, all the chefs on Instagram. They’re much more aware of the role of images, they know how to convey their message beyond their restaurant. Many of them quite naturally asked to do live performances, which would have been unimaginable five years ago. The conditions of living, of establishing a restaurant, of projecting it into the world, have truly changed.”
At the exhibition Ana Ros presents a short video about the allergies that are ruling her life. “I spend hours every week digging in my creative mind to find tasty solutions for more than 40 per cent of our guests who claim to be allergic to everything. It is a paradox; can you understand a person who travels thousands of kilometres to come and eat at Hisa Franko, reserving months in advance and counting the days to sit at our table for finally wanting me to change his menu so much that the dishes do not reflect my kitchen philosophy, my creativity and my personality any more. With this short video we will prove the contradiction of the new age diets and new age foodies. Who is the chef? Enjoy watching and have fun. It is not funny for me,” she said.
Amanda Cohen knows that the most common question a chef is asked (and I am a culprit) is where do you get your ideas? “It is a question that is guaranteed to make every chef roll their eyes because it is so common and yet so impossibly broad. What if we took time and effort to answer it literally. So that single question has become what my piece is about: where I get my ideas. To answer it, I have taken dishes from menus over the year and tried to figure out exactly where I got every single idea for every single element. This piece represents my best effort to get at the hear of the most annoying and most important question that;that’s asked of every chef by almost every single food writer: Where do you get your ideas?”
Colombe St Pierre said that for her the challenge of creating a work that overflows with senses other than taste was exciting. “We focused the work around the idea of creating clothing from plant matter and a series of ready-to-wear clothes with humorous prints referring to the kitchen to food. The work focuses on clothing but also on other avenues inspired by the material. From an ecological point of view, the idea is to present work that gives a second life to food, a life after taste or simply a life at the service of art.
Creatives believe they create, we believe we create. In fact we are all copying from each other.
Rene Redzepi explores the invisible. “What is invisible is part of the magic of noma. Here, we harvested the invisible of each staff member at the restaurant and incubated it so it could flourish”.
Virgilio Martinez goes on a deep immersion in dye plants. He uses colour as a vehicle of creating awareness and as a way to make food look different but without changing its essence.
Lukas Mraz, Philip Rachinger and Felix Schellhorn of the Healthy Boy Band from Austria focus on improvisation. Their work is called the copy shop. “The world is changing and so are we as a society. People in our spheres talk about creativity, creatives believe that they create, we believe we create. In fact we are all copying from each other. Whether it is our industry or any other industry or field in human society. Things, no matter if beautiful, ugly, sustainable, profitable, etc. always have been copied and sometimes slightly changed, that’s when we might be talking about evolution. Everything is uniformed these days, lifestyles are framed, children have no choice but to look at all these choices. Wouldn’t life be better if we would all just openly copy each other instead of doing it but not being aware of it or even hide it,” they provokingly ask.
As part of the exhibition Rodolfo Guzman chose to evoke an earthquake, the sound it makes, the adrenaline it produces.
And Nadine Levy Redzepi is conscious everyone makes mistakes. “Mistakes are great as long as you learn from them. After this, I will never forget my caramel again,” she said.