As cooks, we exist to express ourselves, learn and work together as a team and produce some amazing art that people in the dining room will eat, smell and enjoy.
By Paul Sorgule, MS, AAC
To some it may be a job, a means to an end. Yes, there are those who work in kitchens simply to pay the bills. This is not true of the people with whom I strove to work and hired for the kitchens in which I was privileged to work.
When you stop to think about it, there is something truly magical about working in a professional kitchen. I have often said that most serious cooks are frustrated artists—individuals who have this innate artistic ability that is simply looking for a vehicle of expression. Some are writers, painters, sculptors, bloggers, musicians or even poets. Few are outgoing enough to have an interest in the live performing arts, so their goal is to find a place where they can be expressive behind closed doors. Ah … the kitchen, what a perfect place.
Once they find their way into that cross between the cleanliness of a surgical room and intensity and heat of Dante’s Inferno, they are hooked. Just think of the advantages for the artist: an environment where every day you get to paint on your canvas (the plate), use a plethora of exciting raw materials, appeal to every human sense simultaneously, earn a paycheck, work with other driven artists, learn from a teacher (the chef), and receive instant feedback for your work (although many cooks could care less as long as they feel that the work is an expression of who they are).