For at least the last few years now, the words “artisan” and “artisanal” have become so misused and abused—artisan pizza from Domino’s, anyone?—that they’ve almost lost their meaning.
So what terms should we use now to describe our gifted local food producers and the authentically handmade, original and exceptionally high-quality foods they grow and prepare?
You can trust that in the pages of this magazine, we’ll continue to apply the words “artisan” and “artisanal” only to people and foods that we believe truly merit them.
But in truth maybe “artisan” and “artisanal” never did these people justice anyway. Artist has always seemed to be a better word for them—and art feels like a more accurate description of what they produce.
In this issue, you’ll find a number of stories by and about some of our most accomplished local food artists.
Perhaps most mesmerizing—and mouth-watering—are the chocolates you’ll see and hear about from Deborah Luhrman, as she takes you with her on an adventure through the kitchens of our numerous and accomplished local chocolatiers. (And need we say, this comes just in time for both Christmas and Valentine’s Day?)
Also in this issue, Camilla Mann walks you through the art of roasting your own coffee beans—and how you can procure coffee grown right here on the Central Coast. (Yes, home- grown coffee, one of the last frontiers of local, is finally being done successfully by some adventurous California farmers!)
John Cox illuminates the art of buying and preparing whole fish, and Jamie Collins brings surprising new techniques to your repertoire for preparing delicious, nutritious kale.
Meanwhile, Jordan Champagne schools you in the traditional art of making a tasty tart-sweet shrub (fruit elixir) for spiking your modern cocktails. And Andrea Riordan introduces you to the art of falconry, which some local vineyards employ to protect against swarming starlings.
And finally, there is no doubt that the word artist applies to the photographers that Lisa Crawford Watson interviews for her piece on the art of food photography.
Ultimately, we’re all artists when we apply our passion, talent, imagination and skill to what we do, and we thank our contributors for doing so throughout this past year. We’d also like to deeply thank our staff, advertisers, subscribers and volunteers for all of their artful and passionate support.
We hope this issue of Edible Monterey Bay helps you hone your skills in the culinary— and photographic—arts, and that you have a lot of fun in the process!
Best wishes for a happy holiday and a wonderful new year,