Fernando Zóbel, Ornitóptero, 1962. Museo de Arte Abstracto Español, Cuenca. Image: Fundación Juan March,


W  hat if we were asked to create a dish based on an abstract work of art? Where would we start, how would we use it as an inspiration for the creation and presentation of a dish?

I´m not a professional chef. I love to cook and if I say so myself, I do a pretty good job. However, being successful at this proposal and not make a simple copy of the work, is quite another thing. I believe this task would be too difficult for me, luckily, the contest is meant for trained chefs.

Several professionals will face this task during the second gastronomic contest ´Cuenca Abstracta´ held next October 8th in the city of, you guessed it, Cuenca, where they will need to use a selection of local ingredients to prepare their ´abstract dish´.

Last year the work chosen for this challenge was the ´Ornitóptero´ by the painter Fernando Zóbel. As much as I observe the print of this work I have at home, I still find it very difficult…

Ah, well, I´m not a chef, but let´s give it a go anyway, even if it´s just some brainstorming…

Using ingredients with the same white and black colour scheme could be an option, or creating geometric forms, straight lines or faded brushstrokes. We would even get more technical and think of the type of materials used in the painting and the texture of the ingredients, or draw inspiration from the device itself that gives his title to the painting, the ornithopter. Even the great Leonardo da Vinci made drawings of it, enough stuff to think about and draw ideas from, don´t you think?

Luis Feito, Nº 460-A, 1963. Museo de Arte Abstracto Español, Cuenca. Photo: Fundación Juan March,

For this year´s contest, the work chosen by the association ´Cuenca Abstracta 2016´ is ´Number 460-A by the artist Luis Feito. A clear change of colour scheme, texture, form… I´m going to leave it at that, just in case. Let´s see how the chefs manage to reflect, even a little bit of this work on a plate.

It seems to me that this is quite a good idea to stimulate creativity in an amusing way, and to get to know the artistic and culinary heritage of the region better. Maybe I will give it a go myself at home, I´m curious to know what the result will be, don´t you?

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