Appreciating The Arts of Cooking and Eating

By: Melaina Gasbarrino

Cooking is truly an art form. We all probably dreamed about being a chef at one point in time, but in reality it is only for the strong-passionate-hearted type. The beauty of appreciating this ever-developing art form is that an endless supply of restaurants ensure the tip of our mouth is always watering.

Walking into a restaurant and sitting at the back right beside the chefs really is an experience in itself. You not only hear and see the chef at work but you are swept away in disbelief as to truly how much time and energy is put into each dish. It amazes anyone, of course myself included, at the sheer brilliance of watching a chef masterfully create some of the most extravagant dishes.

But when there is a lack of respect for the chef or the food, what if the chef had the right to kick you out? This was the thinking of Sushi King, Kazunori Nozawa of Sushi Nozawa. Now, after 47 years of uniquely creating Los Angeles's finest sushi he's throwing in the towel and finally retiring at 66 years old. The beauty of this spot was that everyone who waited 2 1/2 hours for a meal knew what they were getting themselves into. They knew that the art of cooking, well sushi making in this instance, was all about letting the 'Sushi King' brilliantly create sushi like no other. When you walked into this restaurant you were to shut off your cell phones, not ask what you were going to eat, no loud talking and no switching seats. This is how Nozawa wanted his restaurant run as in Japan "it's customary to give the chef their full respect while dining."

The thought of going in blindsided into a restaurant and places all your trust in the chef may freak some people out, but if your someone who likes to stop and smell the roses you may want to consider taking it to the next level. Try this out for a change to appreciate the complexity of cooking; take one bite, place the fork on the table, no talking, chew slowly, take in the texture of your food, sit there for 10 minutes and start the process all over again. This may seem a little strange to some, but for those deeply rooted in Buddhist teachings, mindful eating and appreciating the craft of cooking is just as normal a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. The beauty of all this mindful eating hype is that it relieves stress, teaches you how to live a healthier life, and enables you to shed a few extra pounds.

It's not every day we go out for a lavish meal, sit at the chefs table or take a second to appreciate just how much passion and energy went into the production of each dish and thus it's time we start to being a bit more mindful to this art form, as it's here to stay.

Melaina is from a small town in Ontario, Canada and as an avid environmentalist with a passion for focusing on healthy living. Having traveled the world and written about it every step of the way, she one day hopes to develop unique environmental educational programs for kids. 

Photo: Bruce Tuten

For more tips and recipes from Melaina, follow me on Twitter (@MarcusCooks)