Christopher M.’s Four Course Feast for the Eyes
One of the greatest aspects of collecting art is having the opportunity to form a relationship with the artist. Here at EC Galleries, our annual shows bring our collectors closer by providing them with just such an opportunity! On February 4-5, Christopher M., known as the “Painter of Chefs”, was supported by a large crowd of fellow foodies and art lovers in his most recent exhibition of original paintings.
This show was unlike any other event hosted at the gallery! In order to fully cultivate the inherent relationship between fine art and the culinary arts, Christopher M.’s paintings were unveiled “course by course” in conjunction with actual food and wine pairings by Chef Mandy Braidic of The Inspired Gourmet. Over four delectable courses, Christopher M. shared with us his inspiration, his intention for each painting, and his own personal experiences with fine dining.
The Pass: Perfect Plate, Preparations, Enjoy, Synchronicity
The very first course, “The Pass”, is inspired by the beginning of the meal, in which appetizers are introduced throughout the crowd of gathering friends and family. Christopher naturally loves to observe the perspective of the chefs as these courses ensue, and is able to point them out as he sees them in the kitchen. “The prep chefs are often the younger, aspiring chefs, and so I wanted to show them as they were preparing this first course,” he says. These apprentices represent the vitality of the culinary arts and the excitement in their promising career ahead. Their labor may be difficult and consuming, yet it is their dedication and diligence that will carry them to the top of their field. In a similar way, Christopher M. finds himself early on his own promising career path, and his diligence to his craft hints at so much more to come.
PREPARATIONS BY CHEF MANDY BRAIDIC: Kale and Pecorino Crostini paired with a Blason De Bourgogne Sparkling Wine
Paired with White: The Best of White, With Chardonnay, Culinary Excellence
The second course focuses on the chef’s often understated commitment to his craft. In every delicate nuance of taste, the chef upholds his talent to the finest standards. Christopher M.’s original painting, Culinary Excellence, is inspired by Chef Thomas Keller, arguably the greatest American chef of our time. Christopher’s painting depicts three stars in the upper left hand corner of the canvas as they were hanging on the wall of the kitchen. These three stars represent the three star Michelin rating awarded to both of Chef Thomas Keller’s restaurants, The French Laundry in Yountville, CA, and Per Se, in New York City. This is the highest rating awarded by the Michelin Guide. The artist’s interpretation greatly influences how we understand the painting. Christopher M. sees these stars in the kitchen not as a boast of past achievements, but rather as a reminder to uphold the standard of excellence that is expected of a true culinary artist.
PREPARATIONS BY CHEF MANDY BRAIDIC: Arugula Salad with oranges and Caramelized Fennel paired with 2010 Mezzacorona Pinot Grigio
Paired with Red: Chef’s Choice, In the Vineyard, The Best of Red, Copper Pots
The third course, for Christopher M., is the vibrant, robust climax of the culinary production. A hearty red meat, paired with red wine, fulfills the appetite and satisfies the palate. The meal would not be a meal without the red wine course. As the “course” is unveiled, everyone immediately feels drawn to Christopher M.’s In the Vineyard, a beautiful original oil painting of a dinner for two against the sun setting in a vineyard. For anyone who has experienced the beauty and romance of California’s Napa Valley, the artist has created a painting that captures that memory.
PREPARATIONS BY CHEF MANDY BRAIDIC: Prosciutto-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Apples paired with 2010 Sebastopol Pinot Noir
Dessert: Payard’s, La Boulangerie, Cafe Au Lait, Foster’s Flambé
Similar to the “wow” effect that a delicious dessert evokes at the end of a meal, Christopher M.’s finale exemplified some of his most impressive works of art to date. They truly displayed Christopher’s participation in today’s culinary society, with paintings created from sketches made in the kitchens of Chef Francois Payard, Charlie Trotter, and more.
His paintings referenced more than the most renowned restaurants in the nation. Christopher M.’s Foster’s Flambé paid tribute to his contemporaries, Michael Flohr and Henry Asencio, with a small sampling of sold out limited edition paintings, Flohr’s Crystal Café and Asencio’s Day Dream in the background of the scene.
PREPARATIONS BY CHEF MANDY BRAIDIC: Chocolate Espresso Pots De Crème paired with Warre’s Warrior Port