Top 5 Fine Food Arts

Categories: Top Five

Japanese Bento Box "Mona Lisa"
Art created from food has a uniquely universal appeal and a certain whimsy that you don't always find with other media. But food artists are often dismissed as "novelty," despite the powerful reach of their work and the fact that it's often crafted out of some of the most finicky materials on earth. Anyone who has ever made pizza dough from scratch can tell you it is not ideal for sculpting. Below are five examples of fine food art and (a few) of the artists creating it today.

Prudence Emma Staite with "Pizza Dough Colosseum."
5. Prudence Emma Staite, Food Sculptor (United Kingdom)
The Gloucestershire sculptor is probably the most recognized artist in her field (it's admittedly a niche group). It seems there is no medium she cannot tackle, having made masterpieces with chocolate, sugar, butter, cheese, fruits and vegetables, meat, sweets, Christmas puddings, bread, pastry, pizza -- even gravy. She will occasionally incorporate non-edible articles such as beads, baubles, photos and bows as well. The 30-year-old artist's work is recognized the world over and includes Warhols recreated from chocolate Smarties, busts of Winston Churchill and the Pope rendered from bread, homages to celebrities on pizzas, even life-size rooms crafted meticulously and entirely of chocolate. Her services and other items are available for purchase through her website .

4. Bento Boxes (Japan)
Bento is a takeout or home-packed meal common in Japanese cuisine. A traditional bento box consists of rice, fish or meat, and one or more tsukemono (pickled vegetables) or cooked vegetables, usually in a box-shaped container (bento box). Containers range from disposable to ornate handcrafted lacquerware. Although bento meals are readily available commercially throughout Japan, it is still common for Japanese homemakers to spend a great deal of time and energy for their spouse, child, or themselves, producing a carefully and artfully prepared lunch bento, a practice known as kyara-ben. So the next time you're about to bitch about making the kids' lunches, just be grateful that you don't have to recreate the Mona Lisa in their lunchbox.

Filippo Ioco "Butter Top."
3. Filippo Ioco, Body Art/Photography (United States)
I'll admit it. I've looked at a burger with lust in my heart. Renowned body painter Filippo Ioco's "Fun Foods" exhibit at the World Erotic Art Museum in Miami features photos of nude models camouflaged in a variety of deliciousness ranging from a butter-soaked stack of pancakes to a neon blue martini. The question: Is the focus of the exhibit the human body as a delicacy or the sensual, siren-like allure that food has over us? I suggest focusing on "Bomb Pop" while you decide.

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