Can Unmodified Food be Culinary Art?

Argumenta 2 (5):185-198 (2020)
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You are sitting in Chez Panisse, Alice Waters’ acclaimed restaurant in Berkeley, California. After an extensively prepared, multi-course meal, out comes the dessert course: an unmodified but perfectly juicy, fresh peach. Many chefs serve such unmodified or barely-modified foods with the intention that they count as culinary art. This paper takes up the question of whether unmodified foods, served in the relevant institutional settings, can count as culinary art. I propose that there is a distinctive form of aesthetic trust involved in formal culinary settings, and it plays a central role in many instances of culinary art. Culinary institutions summon aesthetic trust, which helps to explain why a dish of unmodified food served in an appropriate institutional setting can count as culinary art.

Author's Profile

Sara Bernstein
University of Notre Dame


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