33 years old, ITALIAN
2013: Head Chef at Jour de Fête – Strasbourg
My wheel is edible. I made it with my own hands, using organic ingredients, mainly round ones.
From above, it looks like a mixture of food and human arms, representing the spokes of the wheel.
Agata Felluga is a 32 year old chef from Italy, who has made a name for herself cooking in France. Today she is the head chef at Jour de Fête in Strasboug.
Before that, she worked under Pascal Barbot at Astrance (awarded three Michelin stars) and Inaki Aizpitarte at Chateubriand, both in Paris.
Both experiences were valuable in making her quick to improvise and agile in using ingredients not found in her personal heritage.
In both restaurants, she worked in all parts of the kitchen, becoming familiar with each course.
I often think that great artists and creative should also be sagacious teachers, and Agata was not an exception.
She was able to explain lucidly everything that she was doing, step-by-step: how she had prepared the ingredients, where they had been sourced and why they had been sourced there.
As a chef she is used to communicating, I imagine more vociferously over the steam, flames and shouting of a busy kitchen, but you could tell she had a real passion for what she was doing, and for educating others. Agata's talent is not then only in her ability to produce, ephemeral but delightful dishes, but to inform others about them, which will stand the test of time considerably longer.
The philosophy which she applies in the kitchen is also harnessed in her ideas outside of it. She sees things in straight lines; from start to end, amuse bouche to dessert.
Her reinterpretation of the wheel was linear, and she challenged herself to make this work visually.
She produced a photograph of mixed media: culinary and human.
It was a combination of human arms and food, the body connected to that which sustains it and that which drives it.
Do you consider your talent a gift or a burden?
I consider my talent not a gift but a process resulting from the experience that builds and evolves over time.
I'm learning to understand the consequences of what that means: talent is in fact theory, while practice is assuming responsibility for everything that ensues.
What you would do if one day you woke up and discovered you had lost your talent?
In the past, I would occasionally wonder what would happen if I stopped being a chef.
I never found an answer: the truth is that I love my job so much I couldn't do anything else.
Who is the living talent you most admire?
Inaki Aizpitarte, a French chef who owns the Chateaubriand restaurant.
What do you like about your talent and what don't you like?
I like this permanent oscillation between ambition and the quest for perfection.
At the same time, it's the constant oscillation between these two limits that scares me, when the drive for perfection becomes obsessive.
When or where does your talent make you happy?
Some time ago my parents came to Strasbourg to visit me at the restaurant where I now work.
I was watching them eating; they didn't say a word, they just smiled. At that moment I felt happy.
If you could change your talent, how you would change it?
I'd like to be able to help people through dialogue, in a tangible, physical, audible way.