This week I shared a peek into the Toulouse kitchen of Sandrine Follère, a French painter and sculptor, who welcomed me into her home with a beautiful and improvised lunch that capitalized on the delicious ingredients that the south of France offers.
As Sandrine is an accomplished and experienced artist, I was curious how her art affects her cooking, and vice versa. I asked her about this and here's what she said.
A great peaceful moment.
I asked Sandrine this question as she was slicing strawberries and tomatoes for a striking salad, and her immediate response was: "A great peaceful moment."
"When I'm cooking it's like a meditation," she explained, "like when I'm working on my art."
Experiences feed it all.
Sandrine is also a great traveler who has spent quite a lot of time outside France, especially in Southeast Asia. The experiences she has accumulated there and elsewhere feed both her cooking and her art. Her travel inspires her daily cooking quite a lot: "When I am not traveling I'm cooking; I'm traveling in my kitchen!"
An experience of creation.
"Everything in my life is linked up to the feelings and sensations of experiences I'm living. Cooking is one of my experiences of creation: it reminds me of my travels, the sensations I’ve had: the colors, textures, people, food. Cooking is one of my means of expression, although drawing, painting and sculpting are my main means of expressing myself. I am trying to make sense by creating, traveling, reading, cooking, sharing...living!"
Interpreting experiences and making them visible and concrete in some way is really at the heart of both cooking and art, she says. "We have to make sense of things with our senses," she told me, "and that experience feeds art and food. The sensations we take in feed us and feed others."
For Sandrine, feeding others is an essential part. "Cooking is just a question of love, of giving," she said as she finished lunch.
And both art and cooking, she insisted, are for everyone. "Art is like cooking; anyone can explore his own creativity and his own capacity to express himself."
Thank you Sandrine!