An insider's view of the Connecticut dining scene
Jun 16, 2014
02:38 PM
The Connecticut Table

Edible Artistry: Tastings With Top Connecticut Chefs at Hartford Arts Venue

Edible Artistry: Tastings With Top Connecticut Chefs at Hartford Arts Venue

Above the local chefs participating in the "Taste" series at Real Art Ways. From left: Ed Jones, Sean Farrell, Jeff Lizotte, John Sinclare, Jesse Powers, and Tyler Anderson.

Art never tasted so good.

A new series at Real Art Ways (a multidisciplinary contemporary arts space in Hartford), gives guests insight into the creative process of chefs at some of Connecticut’s most celebrated restaurants and allows foodies and art lovers alike to sink their teeth into some mouthwatering dishes.  

The series is called “Taste” and kicked off in May. Each event begins with a screening of an episode from the classic French culinary TV series “Inventing Cuisine.” Then there’s a discussion with a guest chef who talks about his or her creative culinary process before allowing guests to sample a tasting dish that was inspired by that evening’s “Inventing Cuisine” episode. The event is hosted by “New York Times” and “Bon Appetit” contributing writer Rand Richards Cooper.

So far, the series has appealed to audiences’ tastes, says Taryn Bunger, communications manager at Real Arts Ways.

(Right and below: the culinary creations made for the May installment of "Taste"  by chef Sean Farrell of Firebox in Hartford

Originally only three dates were scheduled for the series (one in May, June and July) but Bunger says more installments will likely be added.

“We’re so pleased with the great  reception that it has had because we’re able to really respect the chefs from a creative standpoint and look into their process and let them talk about it,” she says. “When you think about the contemporary visual artists that Real Art Ways works with there’s such an amazing and clear parallel with bringing these chefs in—it’s like having a gallery exhibition for them.”

She adds, “When an artist comes in and we install a show, I like it because it looks nice and it’s visually interesting to me, but what really interests me is hearing about the process behind making it. It’s the same thing with food, we like it because it tastes good, but it’s so much more meaningful to hear about why something was done a certain way and the choices and the thought that went into it.”

Executive Chef Tyler Anderson and Chef de Cuisine Jesse Powers from Millwrights in Simsbury were the scheduled guest chefs for the Monday, June 16, installment of the series, which sold out well in advance. Anderson and Powers' appearance was scheduled to be paired with the “Inventing Cuisine” episode featuring Alain Passard, a celebrated chef from Paris.

Anderson says he was immediately intrigued by the concept of the series.

“I have always loved the ‘Inventing Cuisine’ movies, they have inspired cooks young and old for years,” he says. “Alain Passard has been one of my favorite chefs since I saw his movie many years ago and so the opportunity to create dishes inspired by him is awesome.”

For the evening Anderson came up with two unique dishes, one features radishes, strawberries, buttermilk, and garden herbs, while the other features, leek marrow, roast poultry vinaigrette, and charred onion soubise.

Anderson adds that although there is artistry involved in the process of cooking he sees it as more of a craft.

“A professional kitchen is full of people who are there to execute a vision set forth by the Chef or kitchen leader. The artistic element can come in to play when a cook reaches the level of Chef and can come up with their own style.  Art is not about repetition and cooking is a trade in which consistent repetition is a necessity. There is certainly an artistic element to cooking, but in order to become the ‘artist’ one must first become a craftsman or woman.”

The next installment of the “Taste” series is on Monday, July 21, at 6:30 p.m. and will feature Jeffrey Lizotte, executive chef of ON20 in Hartford, who will prepare dishes based upon the “Inventing Cuisine” episode featuring Chef Michel Bras.

Tickets are still available and are $25. For more information visit realartways.org.

Contact me by email eofgang@connecticutmag.com and follow me on Twitter, and connect with Connecticut Magazine on Twitter, on Facebook and Google +

Edible Artistry: Tastings With Top Connecticut Chefs at Hartford Arts Venue

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