Opening soon at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Paris, the exhibition “Cookbook” explores the relations between art and the culinary, examining their common approach to the alchemic transformation of materials. Combining the work of contemporary artists—including a solo exhibition of Italian master Gianfranco Baruchello, as well as members of a younger generation, such as Elad Lassry and Alisa Baremboym—with sketches and videos executed by a number of well-known chefs from all over the world, the exhibition, curated by Nicolas Bourriaud in collaboration with gastrocritic Andrea Petrini, rides the unstoppable trend of food mania.
After all, the fact that the boundaries between art and cuisine were becoming increasingly blurred was already clear in 2007 when curator Roger M. Buergel invited chef Ferran Adrià to take part in the 12th edition of the prominent exhibition Documenta, for the first time in history as an artist in his own right. A pioneer of culinary avant-garde, at the time still at the helm of now-legendary restaurant elBulli, Adrià is certainly an innovator who has revolutioned the world of cooking by expanding its horizons and ambitions. And if his influence has reached every part of the globe, it is in Barcelona that one can breathe the fragrant air of this revolution at its best.
As traditional tapas become the grounds for fervid experimentation, paired with a cocktail culture that prides itself as “liquid cuisine,” the Catalan city is now a world capital of food and much credit for this must go to the string of venues launched by Adrià and his brother Albert, previously a member of elBulli's kitchen brigade. Even more so now that the already-cult 41 Grados and Tickets were joined in the spring of this year by the newest family treasure: focused on Nikkei, an unexpected mixture of Japanese and Peruvian cuisines, the restaurant Pakta (C/ Lleida, 5, 08004 Barcelona, Spain) has quickly drawn attention, due in part to its stunning (and decisively “Missoni-feeling”) interior design created by Spanish firm El Equipo Creativo, with architectural elements and furniture referencing Japanese minimalism and chromatic decorative elements inspired by the Peruvian loom.