The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2017

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Page 44 of 124

THE ART OF HOSPITALITY C hefs are increasingly venturing beyond what's on the plate to focus on the plate itself. Heath Ceramics, founded in 1948 in Sausalito, California, may have jumpstarted the trend with its products in seductive colors, but the work of several West Coast artists is also helping address the industry's insatiable appetite for aesthetically-pleasing tableware. Before opening Felix in Venice, California, pasta maestro Evan Funke researched several potters. When he walked into Mirena Kim's L.A. studio, Funke went straight to a work table piled with clay kneaded just like dough. After deciding on the shape and size of the pasta plates, Kim showed him the possible glazes on which he could showcase his cacio e pepe or pappardelle in old-school ragù Bolognese served at his beachside trattoria. "The white Shino he liked best is not one I use often," says Kim. "It's unpredictable, but beautiful. On a plate, it looks like sea foam breaking on sand." Marshall Blair, chef/owner of Blair's in L.A., took a pottery class and became fascinated with clay. He eventually opened The Pottery Studio in the Atwood Village neighborhood to feed his habit, and is currently finishing up an order 44  /  the tasting panel  /  october 2017 Sculptor Mirena Kim fashioned plates for Felix in Venice, CA. PHOTO: STACI VALENTINE RESTAURANTS HAVE AN APPETITE FOR HANDCRAFTED CERAMICS by S. Irene Virbila Fr Clay to Table

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