Food Is Art

Food Is Art

Employee Mauricio Castillo shares how his short tenure at Eataly NYC Flatiron has affected his perspective on food. 

Can you imagine a world without food?

Picture it. We’ve all seen those futuristic sci-fi movies, where full-course meals come in pill form. Depressing. Food has become so integral to our everyday lives that on days that we only have one or two meals, our demeanor actually changes. And it’s not because we needed to eat more to sustain ourselves or something along those lines. No, it’s that our brains cause our bodies to yearn for food. Think about it. Food literally makes us happier: body, mind, and soul. I believe in this wholeheartedly. But I never thought I’d see food as more than just an enjoyable means to an end.

I’ve been working at Eataly NYC Flatiron for about three months now, and in this short period of time, I’ve come to the realization that food no longer is just, well, food. Eataly has shown me the endearing, spiritual experience that is cooking and learning about food. Eataly has shown me that food is art.

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I work in the corporate office as a payroll associate, so you might ask yourself, “How has your mindset about food been changed stuck in a 9-5?,” and it would be a valid question. It was the creative mind that pushed me to experience such a change in my view of food and the culinary arts, and it happened on just my fourth day of work.

I was going through the orientation for newly-hired employees, and the first step was to take a tour of Eataly. Suffice it to say, I was in utter awe. Never had I seen anything like the store in my life. How could such a smooth marriage between restaurant, marketplace, microbrewery, and cafes exist? But even more than that, as I went along on the tour and met the individuals who worked in the different departments, I was entranced by the words they shared with us. To these employees, food wasn’t just something you put in your mouth when you were hungry. To them, food was an experience, a study; food provided the tools to make masterpieces. Food was, and is, their lives.

I recall Nicholas Coleman, resident oleologist at Eataly, speaking to us about his craft as an olive oil expert. Now, I’ll be honest with you, the first things that came to my mind were “What is an oleologist?” and “Really? Olive oil?” And like all those who suffer from hubris, my life was changed in the short moments he shared with us. He showed me that this was more than just about oil, more than just a source of fat to add to food. This was a science, a science as important and prevalent as biology or physics. I was beyond moved.

Eataly is proof of the power of food and its relevance as an art form. Just take a trip to the store, like I did nearly three months ago for the first time. You’ll see.

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Mauricio Castillo was born and raised in Queens, New York. He graduated from the City College of New York with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing. Along with being a published writer, Mauricio is a lover of literature, sports, music, film, and — of course — food. He currently works as a payroll associate at Eataly NYC Flatiron.