This is one hell of a salad, but can you call it art?
Hang out in the kitchen with Victor Barry. Art makes people feel, and that's exactly what he does with food
Can you really say that the culinary arts are, well, art?
It's something to consider on this episode of The Places We Call Art, as Toronto chef Victor Barry invites you inside his Annex restaurant, Piano Piano, where he'll make you one of the most popular items on the menu: a grilled Caesar salad with pork belly.
[Art] invokes emotion, and that's what we do with food.- Victor Barry, chef
"For a long time, when I was like a young cook, I always thought cooking as an art was like, kind of stupid," says Barry, who's been working in kitchens since he was 11, helping out at his uncle's pizza place in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
"But it is!" he says. "It's an interpretation of myself that I put onto the plate and I serve to my guests."
Before Piano Piano, Barry's Harbord Street location was home to Splendido, something of a foodie institution in Toronto. He started there in 2005 as an assistant pastry chef, and by 2009, he bought the place. Piano Piano, which offers casual Italian fare, opened in 2016 — and across the street from its airy dining room, Barry has also opened a flamingo-pink French bistro, Café Cancan.
"I want people to feel," Barry says in the video, describing why he cooks. "And that's what art is. It invokes emotion, and that's what we do with food. We invoke emotion."
Take a peek inside the restaurant.
More episodes of The Places We Make Art:
The Places We Make Art is a CBC Arts web series about just that. Profiling Toronto artists from a multitude of disciplines, step into their creative lives by exploring the unexpected spaces that inspire them the most.