It all started with the Cookieman and Grant Achatz.
A couple of months ago I drew the Cookieman and posted it on the blog as an illustration for my Sweetheart’s Eyes Cookie recipe. Food & Wine editors saw the illustration and asked if I could do something like that for them on the topic of holiday entertaining. “Of course,” I replied. The only problem is that I had absolutely no idea what to draw. That’s where Grant Achatz comes into play. Once in a while, more often than not, I tend to spend my mental cycles on completely ridiculous and utterly non-important thoughts. Such as lamenting over the total lack of opportunities to visit Chicago, or the fact that even if the winds were to blow me in the direction of the Windy City, there is still close to zero possibility of landing at an Alinea table. And while I was feeling sad over the gloomy fate of my future eating prospects, at the very back of my mind a seed of an idea grew. As they would say "if the mountain won't come to Muhammad then Muhammad must go to the mountain," or as Queen Sashy would say, “if you cannot taste the Dessert Table at Alinea, perhaps you can make it yourself.”
And so I procured a roll of Kraft paper and a black marker and drew the Dessert Tree. I sent the photo of the tree to the good folks at Food & Wine, who happened to like my art. They also happened to be quite helpful in arriving at the realization that one should not limit ones artistic expression to desserts only, and so I went back to Staples and procured some more Kraft paper and I made the Cheese Table, the Charcuterie Table, as well as several other cute ones. The Dessert Tree and a hint at other artworks is here on the blog, but the really good stuff is now on Food & Wine holiday slide show here. Ta-da!
It’s funny how the winds blow. I cannot help but wonder whether having your work commissioned by Food & Wine feels better than eating at Alinea. Giving my prospects for later I will probably never know, but in either case, cheers to you Grant Achatz! And happy holidays!
p.s. In case you are wondering what's on the tree. The jeweled chocolate balls are Chocolate Mendiants. The snowy balls are Pistachio Orange Blossom Winter Cookies. The candles topped by the flaming chunks of dry papaya are Citrus Scented Pistachio Crisps.