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Trend Alert: The Chef-Ceramicists Who Make Their Own Tableware

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Trend Alert: The Chef-Ceramicists Who Make Their Own Tableware

May 23, 2018

For months we’ve been tracking what we’re calling the All-in-One Chef: chefs who not only preside over the kitchen but also design their restaurant interiors, arrange the flowers, and make their own soap for the guest WC. But we particularly like a small, singular new breed: the Chef Ceramicists, who see tableware as an important frame for their food, and take sourcing local ceramics to the next level by making it themselves. It makes sense: There are parallels to draw between clay and dough, the tactility of cooking and pottery. Ceramics, like cooking, combines a high level of detail (something chefs are famous for) with artfulness. Plus, when it comes to how tableware looks and functions, chefs can design exactly what they require, down to the last detail.

Take a look at the pioneering chefs and restaurateurs we’re noting—and their tableware.

london chef restauranteurs clare lattin and tom hill (the duo behind ducksoup, 9
Above: London chef-restauranteurs Clare Lattin and Tom Hill (the duo behind Ducksoup, fermentation-focused Rawduck, and Little Duck Picklery) design their custom line of ceramics, Vessel & Time, for use in their eateries. For more, see our post Earth, Milk, and Tree: Stoneware Ceramics from a London Chef. Shown is a simple white Fermentation Crock (£100).
bread baker and chef fernando aciar launched his own ceramics line, fefo stud 10
Above: Bread baker and chef Fernando Aciar launched his own ceramics line, Fefo Studio, where he makes ceramic lighting and tiles, as well as bowls and plates for his New York restaurant, O’Cafe. (For L’Estudio, Aciar’s cafe on the Lower East Side (it has since closed), he operated a kiln and workshop in a small storefront next door.)
Above: Alexa first noted the work of Cuban-born, New York–based chef/ceramicist/stylist Marité Acosta back in 2014, when she spotted a few vases of hers at an event (see Painterly Pottery by a New York City Chef). Acosta’s culinary and pastry training—as well as time spent in the fashion and textile industries—influences her simple ceramics, such as the Large Stoneware Bowl ($225) shown.

colleen hennessey studied sculpture at the kansas city art institute before wor 13
Above: Colleen Hennessey studied sculpture at the Kansas City Art Institute before working in the kitchens of acclaimed Los Angeles restaurants Campanile, Lucques, and Canelé for 15 years. Now she crafts simple tableware on the coast of northern California, like these nested bowls (they’re sold out on Quitokeeto, but similar designs are available on her site). “She’s always thinking about how her wares will be used to hold the harvest and present meals,” according to her bio.
jacqueline and marshall blair use the ceramics from their own workshop, the p 14
Above: Jacqueline and Marshall Blair use the ceramics from their own workshop, The Pottery Studio, to outfit their two LA restaurants, Posto Giusto and Blair’s. “We have been hand-making our plates and bowls since 2015,” they say. “The day we donated all our china plates and bowls from our kitchen cabinet, we knew that we were in for a long and worthy journey.” The duo’s designs, like these Speckled Glossy White Bowls ($130) with a textured clay exterior and Pottery Studio stamp, also appear on the tables of other local restaurants, including The Hearth & HoundManuela, and Journeymen. (Also on offer at their studio: pottery classes.)

christina liu is not a chef, but she almost was, stage ing in a high powered r 15
Above: Christina Liu is not a chef, but she almost was, stage-ing in a high-powered restaurant kitchen and planning on attending culinary school before attending the Royal College of Art for a Master of Arts in ceramics and glass. “My interests lie in the interactions between the plated food, the vessel, and the diner,” she says. “The vessel has always been an integral part of the dining experience in Japanese cuisine. The vessel is held in such high regard that it is not unusual for components of a dish to occupy a smaller area so that diners may also appreciate the beauty of a ceramic plate. I believe that tableware should serve as more than just a blank canvas for the art of food.” Recently she’s collaborated with pastry wizard Dominique Ansel.

and one we have our eye on: london based chef dan cox, who started throwing pot 16
Above: And one we have our eye on: London-based chef Dan Cox, who started throwing pots (and installed a kiln at his house) while he was the executive chef at Michelin-star restaurant Fera. His new garden-to-table restaurant on a farm in Cornwall, Crocadon, will include a pottery where he’ll create bespoke tableware to suit individual dishes: Stay tuned. His Cracked Black Plate, shown, is £22.
For more ceramics that could (and do) appear on restaurant tabletops:

N.B.: Featured image from Rawduck.

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