11 months ago

July_Aug UK Chef

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show - all available to

show - all available to buy, with prices from £150 to around £90,000, should your guard be down after a tipsy lunch - will change quarterly, with dedicated shows on occasion in between. It’s not big hitter stuff - echoing the tendency of some establishments the likes of Le Gavroche to show Dalis and Miros - but deliberately less rarefied and more accessible. They’ve even printed a brochure for viewers to read and take away. It still helps, of course, that art makes any restaurant more Instagrammable - which may be why you might have heard of the likes of La Colombe D’Or, in Provence, Kronenhalle, in Zurich, or Osteria Francescana, in Modena. “The whole point is not just to have the art as decorative, but to show art to people who might not typically go into Mayfair galleries,” explains West, who has known Kerridge for some years and represents Kerridge’s wife: Beth Cullen is sometimes known as Beth Cullen-Kerridge. “You still get that ‘Pretty Woman’ effect in a lot of those galleries - the pressure to deliver sales is so intense there’s a tendency to judge books by their covers, and only respond warmly to people who look like they might buy. We’re aiming at art in a more open-armed setting. You enjoy great food, a nice glass of wine, and you’re comfortable. That makes it the perfect setting for looking at art. Much as Tom is known for taking away the white table cloth stuffiness of restaurants, we want to strip back the typical gallery environment so it’s possible to enjoy the art.” 18 That, West argues, could prove something of a game changer for artists too. As he notes, it’s not just about introducing art to people who might not previously have considered it all that much before - and Kerridge’s Bar & Grill has already made a few sales - so much as reaching many more people too. The daily footfall in a restaurant with a ‘name’ chef - 300 in Kerridge’s case - dwarfs that of your typical small London art gallery. Simply by removing art from its typical, white-walled, whisperif-you-dare setting and putting it in one both with higher traffic but also an atmosphere that encourages easy enjoyment, the resulting exposure can be properly career-boosting for some artists. Not that a ‘name’ restaurant is necessary: West insists that his professional eye has been caught by art hung in branches of Nando’s. “I think the idea of art presented with careful consideration in a restaurant is one that’s only going to provide great opportunities for both industries to grow,” argues Kerridge, who’s now working on a second ‘art restaurant’ project with West. “For the restaurant it shapes and gives added purpose to the space. From the artist’s or gallery’s point of view - and I speak here as someone married to an artist - it’s a tough market out there with lots of hidden costs, so this is a chance to perhaps show more and sell more, without having to work in all those expensive Mayfair rents. I reckon it’s an idea that will go from strength to strength.” Yes Chef !