Confidence and Artistry in the Kitchen

asparagus soup with olive oil and dressing


Food is art.

I have a friend who is a very talented artist. I am in awe of the work she creates. In fact, I’ve commissioned her to paint portraits of both my pets and as a new baby gift, she even did my daughter. 

We had a conversation once about how I don’t have a creative bone in my body. I can appriciate art, I love looking at art, I’ve tried hard to make my own art, taking ceramics courses and basic painting, but failed miserably. That and having musical talent are two things I just never was good at. 

But she stopped me and said that I was being silly, I was an artist too. I looked her perplexed and she reframed cooking for me in one sentence. 

Food is art, ingredients are your medium, the finished plate is your masterpiece. 

Now I might be inclined to say this when served a perfected, gold plated dish of crudo at Le Bernadine or cotton candy foie gras from Bazaar Meat, but not my Mexican Shrimp Cocktail or Edible Cookie Dough. But in a way she was right. 

I might not be a master chef, but like any form of artistry, there are very few true masters and varying degrees of skill. Likewise, many shades of gray on preference.

The only thing someone needs to personally excel at their art is passion. Passion, motivation and happiness. Cooking and food bring me joy. 

Let cooking bring you JOY. 

Which brings me to my next point. I recently asked my foodie friends on Savory Experiments page what skills they would most want to learn in the kitchen and a surprisingly many wanted to learn how to “not do it all.” 

In my former life before kids and the blog I was a licensed psychotherapist. I guess I still am, technically. But I immediately put on my therapist hat and wanted to help these folks reframe cooking. 

I find it to be cathartic. I love being able to make those around me happy with food. Instead of looking at it as a chore, I frame it as time I get to create and reflect. 

You can EAT to LIVE or you can LIVE to EAT. 

Sure we all love to have a beautiful plate presented to us, but I am able to respect and enjoy that plate so much more when I understand where it came from because I, too, have worked hard in the kitchen to prepare amazing food.

Your appreciation for food and the process only amplified. And the sense of achievement you get from making similar food at home will also be amplified. 

Let’s start to view making food as: 

  • Art
  • Personal time (if that is what you need)
  • A way to show love to those around you 
  • Family time (if that is what you need)

Don’t be afraid to fail. 

Failure is just part of life. If you are so afraid of failure, you will never try anything new and that would be pretty boring. 

Even the best chef in the world fails in the kitchen. Ih you watch any of the major cooking shows, they’ll tell you it takes months and months of trial and error before a dish even makes it to their menu. Can you imagine how many failures that is before success? 

We aren’t master chefs. We are mere novices floating around the kitchen rocking out to our favorite tunes trying to make some grub for dinner. 

The worst case scenario? You order a pizza. If that is really the worst that can happen, you are doing ok. On a scale of 1-100 of the horrible things that can happen, this rates in the 1-10 range.

Failure is part of life and a way to grow. 

Furthermore, no one who grew at their craft didn’t fail. Failure is part of growth. Trial and error is part of growth.

You WILL fail in the kitchen. You WILL grow from it. You WILL continue to make fabulous food.

Be confident. 

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “fake it until you make it”. Well, the same holds true in the kitchen. 

Walk in and show that kitchen who is boss. You are the master of the room, you will dictate how things will go and you are going to ROCK IT. 

Being confident can take you further than actual knowledge and skill. 

Find your comfort zone and rock your food. Put on music that motivates you or at least gets you moving. For me, that means 80’s music (don’t judge). Wear an apron that inspires you. Buy a really professional chef’s knife and dominate those veggies. 

decorated bowl of creamy asparagus soup
Jessica Formicola in her ktichen

About the Author

Chef Jessica Anne Formicola

Jessica the mom, wife and chef behind Savory Experiments. You might see her on the Emmy- nominated TV show Plate It! or on bookshelves as a cookbook author. Jessica is a Le Cordon Bleu certified recipe developer and regularly contributed to Parade, Better Homes & Gardens, The Daily Meal, Mashed and more!

Read More About Jessica

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