Chef Kyle Schutte: Is Cooking an Art or a Craft?

By David Jenison

Chef Kyle Schutte: Is Cooking an Art or a Craft?

Chef Kyle Schutte is a daring chef who applies science and technology to the culinary arts to create brilliant experiences like his infamous ice cream tasting dinner. The former Cutthroat Kitchen champ—who recently opened The FLATS in Beverly Hills—has strong opinions about gastronomy, including whether cooking is an art or a craft. PRØHBTD asked this very question, and Chef Schutte said the following:

There's this great book called Culinary Artistry, and the whole book is a debate on whether cooking is an art or a craft. It's the same debate I used to have with [Chef] Tom [Harvey] at ONE Midtown Kitchen because he thinks it's a craft and I think there's an artistic medium to it. To be honest, food has the ability to move people in a way that not everything can. Some people understand painting. Some people understand music. Some people understand sculpture. Everyone understands food. There's always that one flavor that's going to bring you back to something better. In my opinion, anything that has the ability to make an emotional connection with someone can only be considered art. To ignore that side of food would be a crime. Artists just need to do their own thing.

What's made a lot of people's road in this industry so hard and bumpy and rocky is trying to do your own thing. If I just wanted to do a beef carpaccio with arugula and lemon and shaved Parmesan, I could legitimately make six figures working for some corporate place. I don't want to do that. I don't want to take that route. What's the point in that? It's literally like giving up. You've given up. You're too comfortable. What are you doing this for? I don't have a cent saved for retirement yet, and most chefs don't. Unless I strike it big, I'll be working until I'm 80, but at least I'll be doing what I believe in until I'm 80, hopefully.

Image courtesy of NOMA.

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