December 8th, Geraldine DeRuiter from Everywhereist published a blog about a seemingly excruciating meal at Bros’, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Lecce, Italy run by Italian chefs Floriano Pellegrino and Isabella Potì. Now Pellegrino has made an exhaustive answer on art, revolution and culinary excellence.
In her review, DeRuiter described a four-hour, 27-course meal that, she says, „wasn’t even close to serving a real meal.” Among the dishes described were edible pers, glasses of vinegar, rancid ricotta and – as the most grotesquely fascinating example – a shape of Chef Pellegrino’s mouth filled with a citrus “Limoniamo” foam for guests to lick out.
Michelin-star chefs seem, as our own Jaya Saxena pointed out yesterday, to have come up with an odd thing to incorporate hickey into their dishes. And, apart from the general inconvenience of most people’s mouths, why shouldn’t they? Who said that a plaster of paris cannot be a food vessel? Who says a French kiss can’t be judgment? What is a dish anywayhow on a philosophical level? What is kitchen?
In response to DeRuiter’s viral review, Pellegrino asks exactly these questions. In one three-page letter (three pages) to today, titled “Chef Floriano Pellegrino’s Statement”, the chef ponders what distinguishes a technician from an artist and writes: “Being able to draw a man on a horse does not make you an artist. The result of your talent may be beautiful to look at but it’s not an art. To draw a man on a horse is the same as making food. „
He goes on to say that anyone – even your grandma, even his wife, even McDonald’s – can make food that tastes good. But a great cook, like a great artist, devotes his life to technology, learning the rules so he knows exactly how to break them.
His statement (the you can read it completelyas requested by Today) continues:
Contemporary art is not easy. The contemporary artist asks you to think about beauty, to doubt yourself, to trust his creative process, to follow his ideas. This is how revolutions are born.
Here at Bros, we strive for the avant-garde every day.
We have taken this risk since we decided, after international experience, to return to our territory. We invest to revolutionize it and to let it grow with us.
While Pellegrino has long claimed his originality both on the side and in his creative thinking, he is on well-trodden ground. The top half of the letter reads like Ferran Adria’s notes on culinary theory. And what about the horse? It may sound familiar because it basically repeats everything that has been said by or about Pablo Picasso. As an abstract artist and surrealist, Picasso had a lot to say about why his own work – unlike the classical styles taught in schools – was considered high art. As the quote often attributed to him reads: „It took me four years to paint like Rhael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.”
It is true that food can be art and art can create change. The difference, however, is that you cannot or should not eat a painting or sculpture, no matter how much it violates the rules of traditional inedible engineering. It is debatable that art creates revolutions, but one thing that it definitely does? hunger! It’s lucky for bros that the kind of people who can afford travel to Lecce and poke fun at $ 150-225 meals in overheated cement rooms are unlikely to lead a riot. The people who lead the revolution are likely to be fed by grandmothers, spouses, or – I don’t know – even McDonald’s.
Whether or not Pellegrino’s food revolutionizes people’s eating habits or not is a decision, but what is immediately true is that he revolutionized passive-aggressive letter signing in a way that we can all learn from. In the last few lines of his statement, the cook turns to DeRuiter and writes: “We thank Ms. XXX – I don’t remember her name – for taking us to where we did not get. „Limoniamo” is sold out, thank you very much. „
If you do decide to put such trivia in your own writing, proceed with caution. Anyone can copy technology, but it takes something special to be an artist.