Cuisine does not fit easily into what is accepted as art in the normal sense of the word. one dictionary defines “art” as “the class of objects subjected to aesthetic criteria; works of art collectively, as paintings, sculptures, or drawings: a museum of art; an art collection.” That does not get anywhere near describing wathever it is that Adrià does; another definition, “a skill” at doing a specified thing, tipically one accquired through practice,” covers a great deal but hardly does justice to Adrià’s sublime skills. A definition that takes us a little closer is, “the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance.” Marcel Duchamp preferred another definition, “etymologically speaking the word art means make” – Duchamp liked to think of himself as an artisan but while making his Large Glass he bought a readymade urinal, titled it Fountain, submitted it for an exhibition in 1917 and inadvertently created one of the most famous artworks of the twentieth century. Definitions are not helpful in determining Adrià’s area of competence.
The questions raised by Adrià’s inclusion in documenta make it necessary to figure out what kind of artist he is. I remember telling Juli Soler several years ago what I thought was extraordinary about Adrià was his poetic sensibility, and that there is a lyrical quality in what he does. Now that I’ve had time to think about the question more analytically I’ve begun to ask myself what constitutes this poetry and the nature of the life enhancing episcs he creates. The meals, long sessions filled with a precisely timed sequence of sensations are closer to literature than any other art form. It is not simply that he has taken the best of ingridients and cooked them to perfection, nor that he has created a unique style of preparing and presenting a string of oral pleasures: Adrià’s genius lies in his developing and refining of language of food.
In, Food for Thought, Thought for Food, Richard Hamilton
The Electric EAT, Robert Indiana