Food has provided fodder for artists’ creative expression for years. Call to mind Andy Warhol‘s infamous soup cans or the exuberant fruit prints that adorned the runways of Miuccia Prada and Stella McCartney, and you’ll be reminded that victuals both vibrant and typic have long been at the forefront of artistic presentation and do, in fact, have an aesthetic significance.
Matias Perdomo, the 33-year-old Uruguayan-born chef behind Al Pont de Ferr, a Michelin-starred restaurant in the Porta Genova neighborhood of Milan, artfully demonstrates this precept in Cooking Couture: Fashion Is Served, a new cookbook from Rizzoli International out this September. In it, Perdomo seamlessly combines the worlds of fashion and food in a series of creative dishes that pay homage to the colors, textures and patterns of some of the world’s most heralded designers, including Giorgio Armani, Donatella Versace, Consuelo Castiglioni and Angela Missoni.
The first recipe in the tome is dedicated to Italian design duo Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. In a nod to the label’s spring/summer 2013 collection, rife with raffia and colorful prints inspired by their native Sicily, Perdomo created a dish modeled after ingredients indigenous to the island—cherry tomatoes, chilies and eggplants. You will note, however, that the recipe calls for more vibrant flavors—tuna, anchovy, cod and sesame bread soil—all foxily presented like the vegetables that have emblazoned garments in collections past.
“My kind of cuisine is a bit different from the others,” Perdomo tells DuJour. “Tradition and innovation at the same time.”
Perdomo’s other recipes put a similar imaginary spin on designer’s trademark styles. A Smoked Amberjack and Caviar Marinade, dedicated to Costume National, uses black as its principal color—the same hue that saturated Ennio Capasa’s latest collection. The Missoni Lasagna, a tribute to the design house’s Italian roots, models itself after its signature zigzag pattern to liven up the edges of each pasta sheet, and even uses different ingredients to recreate the colors of its chromatic knits: blended spinach for the greens, carob flower for the browns, cuttlefish ink for the blacks, powdered saffron for the yellows, and food-grade gold paint as a glistening topper—all properly stuffed with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese. The dish for Prada, which Perdomo says he had the most fun making, is modeled into the shape of a shoe, composed of radicchio rosso and celeriac infused with vinegar and red wine. To round out the display, the heel stands atop faux tiles made of red cabbage leaves, foie gras and Bavarian cream.
The project stemmed from the idea of comparing two different forms of art, and quickly grew into a collaborative publishing effort between Perdomo, Gisella Borioli, the journalist and author who wrote and edited the book, and Giovanni Gastel, the Milanese photographer-poet who lensed it.
And even though the catwalk pervades the pages of Cooking Couture, Perdomo insists that he has never been interested in fashion. He simply appreciates it “as it is a real form of art…like cuisine after all.”
“[Food and fashion] are two different kinds of art where tradition has a lot to do with the result,” Perdomo said. “They intersect because the main word is creativity. The philosophy is also [that] the biggest improvement is never enough.”
Cooking Couture is a project spearheaded by Amazon BuyVIP, the e-commerce site’s luxury shopping platform. Click through to see dishes from Cooking Couture: Fashion Is Served, available September 10, 2013.