Sentences on Conceptual Cooking

1.    Conceptual cooks are mystics rather than rationalists. They leap to conclusions that logic cannot reach.
2.    Rational judgements repeat rational judgements.
3.    Irrational judgements lead to new experience.
4.    Formal cooking is essentially rational.
5.    Irrational thoughts should be followed absolutely and logically.
6.    If the cook changes his/her mind midway through the execution of the dish he/she compromises the result and repeats past results.
7.    The cook's will is secondary to the process he/she initiates from idea to completion. His/Her wilfulness may only be ego.
8.    When words such as Hors d'œuvre and Entrée are used, they connote a whole tradition and imply a consequent acceptance of this tradition, thus placing limitations on the cook who would be reluctant to make cooking that goes beyond the limitations.
9.    The concept and idea are different. The former implies a general direction while the latter is the component. Ideas implement the concept.
10.    Ideas can be works of cooking; they are in a chain of development that may eventually find some form. All ideas need not be made physical.
11.    Ideas do not necessarily proceed in logical order. They may set one off in unexpected directions, but an idea must necessarily be completed in the mind before the next one is formed.
12.    For each work of cooking that becomes physical there are many variations that do not.
13.    A work of cooking may be understood as a conductor from the cook's mind to the eater's. But it may never reach the eater, or it may never leave the cook's mind.
14.    The words of one cook to another may induce an idea chain, if they share the same concept.
15.    Since no form is intrinsically superior to another, the cook may use any form, from an expression of words (written or spoken) to physical reality, equally.
16.    If flavors are used, and they proceed from ideas about cuisine, then they are cuisine and (not) perfumery; numbers are (not) mathematics.
17.    All ideas are cooking if they are concerned with cooking and fall within the conventions of cooking.
18.    One usually understands the cooking of the past by applying the convention of the present, thus misunderstanding the cooking of the past.
19.    The conventions of cooking are altered by works of cooking.
20.    Successful cooking changes our understanding of the conventions by altering our perceptions.
21.    Perception of ideas leads to new ideas.
22.    The cook cannot imagine his/her cooking, and cannot perceive it until it is complete.
23.    The cook may misperceive (understand it differently from the cook) a work of cooking but still be set off in his/her own chain of thought by that misconstrual.
24.    Perception is subjective.
25.    The cook may not necessarily understand his/her own cooking. His/Her perception is neither better nor worse than that of others.
26.    A cook may perceive the cooking of others better than his/her own.
27.    The concept of a work of cooking may involve the matter of the dish or the process in which it is made.
28.    Once the idea of the dish is established in the cook's mind and the final form is decided, the process is carried out blindly. There are many side effects that the cook cannot imagine. These may be used as ideas for new works.
29.    The process is mechanical and should not be tampered with. It should run its course.
30.    There are many elements involved in a work of cooking. The most important are the most obvious.
31.    If a cook uses the same form in a group of works, and changes the material, one would assume the cook's concept involved the material.
32.    Banal ideas cannot be rescued by beautiful execution.
33.    It is difficult to bungle a good idea.
34.    When a cook learns his/her craft too well he/she makes slick cooking.
35.    These sentences comment on cooking, but are (not) cooking.

Michalis Pichler


Sol Lewitt, Sentences on Conceptual Art,  0-9, pp. 3-5, New York 1969, and Art-Language (England), May 1969
Kenneth Goldsmith, Paragraphs on Conceptual Writing, Open Letter, Twefth Series, Number 7, pp. 98-101, Ontario 2005