The Art of The Appetizer- Life in the Big City

Art of The Appetizer

I have some good information for you today regarding appetizers. It’s some shortcut advice to artful presentations of beautiful foods that perhaps you did not make yourself. But I have to lead up to that. I can’t just give you the info, I need to push my “social agenda” a bit. It’s been a while since I have been accused of that and I’d like to muck up the waters in that regard!

You see, I live in the big city. Smack dab in the middle of the big city. Hollywood. No burbs or beaches for me! Too slow…

There are advantages to living in the big city. Now, before you yell at me let me say– I am sure that small towns have their charms too. But I live in the big city so I can only speak of the big city kinds of things that the big city has to offer.

And the big city has a lot to offer. It’s the primary advantage of living here. Well, of course I like the astronomical prices, maniacal crowds, the traffic and (oh yeah) the crime too. But today I am here to talk art!

I am lucky to have a friend with an art gallery in the prestigious Bergamot Station in Santa Monica. His gallery has recently relocated there and to celebrate its arrival in the big city he recently had a group show with some of his most interesting artists.

Sippity Sup's Bar at homeNow we have all been to art galleries, and there are all sorts of them in the big city. But this gallery is an important gallery because it is presenting work that can often be considered challenging. In this case “challenging” is not a euphemism for “interesting” which is of course code for “bad” because Luis De Jesus- Los Angeles (as the gallery is known) presents world-class artists, both established and emerging. I am not saying I always get art of this magnitude on an intellectual level, but I will say its emotional power is never lost on me.

And sure when you go to an opening like this there are bound to be celebrities and other luminaries (after all this is the big city). But sometimes, when all the planets align right, you can be in a space like this gallery– standing right next to some well known person and it strikes you that nobody is looking at the celebrity. They are all looking at the art. That doesn’t happen too often in our society, but Boulevardier Cocktail from Sippity Supit’s the kind of emotional resonance I am talking about when it comes to all things artful. Because even art dummies like me can feel the power of its presence even in the most “challenging” of work!

But what does this have to do with food, the chosen medium for this little blog? Well art is where you find it and what you make of it. That’s where the connection and the power comes from, right? Besides, even artists have to eat before a gallery opening. So before this particular event I had two of them to my house for an artful nosh and a chic cocktail. The chickest of the cocktails The Boulevardier. It’s my au current libation, you can learn more about it by CLICKING here.

Now here comes the controversial part (at least for me). I have been very busy lately, so rather than cook I decided to rely on my own sense of art and create a platter of appetizers using the ubiquitous  “found object” to its greatest strength. Because in this case the “found object” is the food on my plate. That’s right no cooking on this night for Sup! Don’t look so surprised. What social agenda did you think I was talking about?

appetizers for a Sippity Sup partyWell, if you are not going to cook, you need the goods. The goodliest of the goods. Fortunately for me I had a partner in the artistic endeavor. A partner who could indeed provide the goods I needed. The great folks at Black Star Gourmet sent me quite a selection of gorgeous little tid-bits: Castelvetrano Olives, Goat Cheese, Proscuitto and a salty, pungent Greek caviar spread called Taramosalata. So you see with these kind of ‘found objects” I knew a work of art was in the making.

All that was left for me to do was break bread and arrange these elements on a simple porcelain palate. Still, I knew enough to add texture and resonance too– I accented it with chrome and marble. I choose to elevate the tension in my composition with structure and dimension. Tangencies were created to unnerve the eye! But I kept it all touchingly human with the comforting warm wood tones that speak to the ‘everyman’ in our society. Still, it’s an elegant presentation with an approachable perspective and a minimal intimidation factor– because food with a poor sense of scale is waste of good ingredients.

See I can talk art trash with the best of them!


Greg Henry