Life presents a child with a choice on Saturday mornings—cartoons or cooking shows? I always opted for the second. Though my passion for food didn’t turn into a career, it is still an indispensable part of my life. When my love for ceramics began, so too was born a dream of marrying it with the culinary arts. I had a vision of customizing dinnerware for chefs. Growing up in Salt Lake (which was never on the map for its choice in food) the dream seemed vaguely ludicrous. Would there ever be a chef in this area who would invest in custom hand-made dinnerware? With the Olympics, a strong economy, and a growing population, farm-to-table restaurants such as Forage began to advance the idea of fine-dining. My first collaboration with a local restaurant began with Bowman Brown at Forage years ago, and has since expanded to include a handful of the finest restaurants in the Salt Lake and Park City areas.
My main focus as a ceramic artist when it comes to dinnerware is to create a canvas for the chef. A custom plate says something that plain white factory-made dinnerware simply doesn’t—it says the chef cares about the food enough to customize how it is presented. Furthermore, the texture of each piece, which I also customize, rounds out the experience in that the silverware will interact with the clay or glaze by giving off a sound different from standard industrial ceramics. Even the feel of the piece as a fork or spoon runs across it, will be unique and create something most diners haven’t experienced yet. Dining at a high level should be an extra-sensory experience—it should include, sound, taste, touch, sight, and smell. My work becomes a small part of a unique experience in fine-dining.
With media attention, both local and national, and a growing number of clients, both public and private, there has also grown a necessity to meet demands beyond what I can do with my own two hands. An inherent dream since I began ceramics has also been that of becoming a ceramic designer. In collaboration with a local manufacturer, I will release my first set of designer dinnerware in early 2016. The release comes in conjunction with a feature in the March 2016 issue of Food and Wine Magazine. “The Designer Series,” as I will call it, will make my work available to more people, and allow me to maintain an affordable price for clients. Furthermore, it will allow me time to continue to do custom work.