Chef as Artist: The Relationship of Artist, Art, and Audience in "Babette's Feast"
Isak Dinesen’s novella, Babette’s Feast, reveals to us what happens when diners eat a meal where the chef proclaims her food to be art. Babette’s Feast explores, among other things, the either/or dichotomies that limit our experience, and shows how the chef is capable of reconciling seemingly oppositional realities, such as spirit and body, through the artistry of food. This analysis examines the implications of food considered as art and the chef considered as artist, focussing on the relationship that comes into being when food-as-art, the chef-as-artist, and diners-as-audience all intersect. A close reading of the text, placing it in a number of different contexts, including an exploration of the influence of physical taste and the social construction of taste, illuminates these issues.
Keywords: Babette's Feast, Food, Art, Artist, Audience, Taste, Culinary, Cooking, Aesthetic, Ascetic
Carolyn Ann Levy
Graduate Student, Graduate Assistant, Department of Graduate Liberal Studies, Simon Fraser University