Have you noticed how nowadays the expression « Haute Cuisine » has emerged in the media? A first culinary curiosity cabinet bringing together the players in the French and international cuisine field, Haute Couture, Perfumery and design took place in the gardens of the Palais Royal in Paris last July. Exhibitions and books are increasingly dedicated to « Haute Cuisine » praising the craftsmanship at work. Last, with Christmas and the New Eve celebrations to come, the art of cooking will surely become one of great interests for many of us.
Among the many events, The Daily Couture got interested in the exhibition at the Museum Nissim de Camondo. The historical house greets, until November 13th, Paris Chef Alain Passsard’s artworks deriving from his lastest book, « Le Beau Geste » (The Perfect Touch). Camille Davis, who lives in Paris for now and translates some of The Daily Couture French written articles, shares her vision of the event with this article she wrote as a contributor.
Alain Passard’s Release of Collages & Recettes
It would be hard to complain about vegetarianism lacking variety after attending the Art and Gastronomy Exhibition last Monday the 17th! With its more than 40 different uses of fruits and vegetables, the well-known French chef, Alain Passard’s book, Collages & Recettes, was released.
Gastronomy…not exactly fashion one could say, but just as important! Unless one views food as solely fuel (and what a shame that would be!) then it is very important to eat right, to cook right, and to present right. Cooking is an art. Recipes are the canvases. And with the passion and precision that comes from the hands of the chef, professional or not, is born a masterpiece. Although I held this view on gastronomy before the exhibition, going there only attested more to that statement. Gastronomy is art.
The event took place in the Museum Nissim de Camondo in the 8th district of Paris. The museum? Beautiful. A perfect place to hold such a celebration of food and creativity, a deserving one at that. The history of the mansion is that it was built in 1911 by the Italian-born turned-French banker, Moïse de Camondo, who desired somewhere to put his big collection of 18th century French furniture and art pieces. Later, he passed down the museum to Les Arts Décoratifs in honor of his son, Nissim de Camondo, who had been killed in World War I. In 1935, the museum opened up and is still preserved in its original condition today.
On Monday night the first and second floors were open to the attenders. The multiple rooms consist of needlepoint chairs and numerous, mainly portrait, paintings. The floors are furnished with Savonnerie carpets dating back to the 1600s and the walls lie in a constant bond with Beauvais and Aubusson tapestries. In one of the rooms, you’ll find a collection of Buffon porcelain with a seemingly obsessive bird theme. The Grand Salon, however, was one of the most stunning rooms. In it stood a giant wooden table with about 12 chairs placed around it. Where were the place mats? Well, instead of place mats were placed photos from Alain Passard’s Collages & Recettes. And not only were they there!
All throughout the rooms of the museum posed the 48 photos correlating with the recettes (recipies) of Alain Passard’s cookbook. The cookbook itself has a very simple and consistent design. Each recette and picture takes up two faces of a page, so you could say each little creation has its own clean space. In regards to the photo, it is a paper-collage design, giving a feeling of blissfulness and simplicity.
Something I really loved was seeing this framed photos placed so casually in the original Camondo kitchens. What a feel that gave off! But not only were these photos and this cookbook different in its design but it was a creation of the mixing of fruits and vegetables! Never had I seen our simple day-to-day potato or brussel sprout be praised in such a considered way. The hors d’oeuvres fit the theme as well. Alongside a glass of champagne came beautiful concoctions like: chocolate and carrot tarts, beet and raspberry tarts, juices made from carrot and orange, or tomato and strawberry–fruits and vegetables really proved to be a romantic couple here!
Of course none of this could happen without the man himself, however. What’s his story? Well, right now Alain Passard is a top chef at restaurant L’Arpege in the 7th arrondissement in Paris. There at L’Arpege people enjoy the neat design of Passard’s creations as well as their pleasing taste. The restaurant is a faithful patron of the usage of vegetables and brings out a beauty in them that not enough appreciate! One of Passard’s views is: “La gastronomie n’est jamais loin de la nature, de la tendresse, du sourire.” Gastronomy is never far from nature, tenderness, or happiness.
Well said, no?