For more than twenty years I have lived daily between art and food.
The element that most unites these two “arts” is sensitivity, but in the kitchen now nothing is created or invented without risking being approximate and falling into ridicule.
Cooking means having the ability to combine a series of flavors, technical knowledge and above all a lot of experience to transform the raw material into a unique food.
Today many chefs, enhancing the aesthetics of the dish, come to consider their finished product as a real work of art forgetting that Art is another thing.
The substantial difference is that a work of art is an “object” that will live forever, arousing, in the viewer, the same emotions every time it has the opportunity to admire it. A dish, on the other hand, may also arouse emotions, but these will have a very short life because the food must be enjoyed immediately as soon as it is served, and once eaten, only the memory of flavors will remain in us and nothing more. If we wanted to relive that emotion, eating the same dish again, this will never be the same because other external factors, from the ingredients to the mood of the cook, affect the finished dish.
Culinary art does not aim at aesthetic perfection, rather an artist in the kitchen is the one who manages to convey emotions by managing to perceive in a balanced way the different flavors of the ingredients used.
Over the years I have had the opportunity to cook for some of the most important contemporary artists and the key word has always been simplicity.
Most artists consider food as a source of nourishment that provides them with the indispensable strength to stretch the canvas, twist the iron, saw the wood, sink nails, cast the plaster, model the terracotta and mix the colors.
Food should be eaten and enjoyed with the mouth and not with the eyes.
A different discourse applies instead to the function of social cohesion and as a convivial moment that food can have.
Often, during the preparation days preceding the openings, it happens that accumulated tensions in front of food, important decisions are made and, sometimes, the best deals are concluded.
Some artists claim that one of the most beautiful things during the staging days is seeing me cook.
Others, on the other hand, assert that my mere presence in the kitchen reassures them and gives them a “sense of home”.
Ettore Spalletti wanted me to cook for his inauguration at MAXXI in Rome.
Gilberto Zorio asks me how I can remember that he doesn’t like certain flavors.
William Kentridge loves my meatballs in a sauce with raisins and pine nuts.
And finally Anselm Kiefer, the artist with whom I have a closer bond (being his cook since 2004) has created a book for me: “Francesco et la poésie culinaire”, the most beautiful gift I could ever have desired.