On food, fashion, and el Bulli hero-worship

El Bulli closes today. Zoe Williams weighs in at The Guardian:

‘The sticking point is that art and fashion last, whereas food is evanescent. You think of great acts of creativity, and their value is tied up with what they left to posterity. There’s something unsettling about seeing so much effort, intellect and expertise, lavished upon something that you’re just about to eat. The higher the esteem in which you hold the chef, the more abashed you feel by your own role in the proceedings. It’s like going to an exhibition in which you demonstrated your appreciation by kicking the art off the walls. I saw an argument once between Marco Pierre White and the journalist Pete Clark – it would ill-behove me to call anybody drunk in this exchange, but they were, and they were having a fight about mushy peas. Pierre White said: “What’s your opinion, anyway? Tomorrow’s chip paper.” Clark replied: “And what’s your work going to look like tomorrow?”

The values of the old-school Michelin system, and the distended excellence that has grown in its wake, can all look like an elaborate disguise where the heightened refinement is there to distract you from the worldliness of food. You’ll eat it. You’ll digest it. You’ll expel it. And that will be that.’

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