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Cooking Art History: The Original Celebrity Chefs and the Birth of Haute Cuisine

francesco ratta

Cooking Art History: The Original Celebrity Chefs and the Birth of Haute Cuisine

This blog was featured in The Huffington Post on November 25, 2015.

The Getty Research Institute’s special exhibition The Edible Monument: The Art of Food for Festivals offers opportunities to travel through time and learn about culinary theatrics from the past.

In early modern Europe, food was spectacle. Between the 17th and 19th centuries, ostentatious court and civic banquets were de rigueur, and illustrations of these feasts endure in the books and prints designed for the Italian and French courts. Of course, the production of such lavish spectacles required a cook and a kitchen brigade. The early concept of the “celebrity chef” emerged in the late 16th century; by the 17th century, chefs were revered.

Centerpiece for the feast of Senator Francesco Ratta, Giacomo-Maria Giovannini after Marc’Antonio Chiarini, 1693. From Disegni del convito fatto dall’illustrissimo signor senatore Francesco Ratta (Bologna, 1693), frontispiece. 1366-803.

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