CONSIDERING THAT WE EAT FIRST WITH OUR EYES, how our food is presented on the plate- from the color, to the geometry, to the textures, becomes of great significance. In the “Edible Art” feature in our new issue, Chef Greg Arnold treats the plate as a canvas on which he creates visually arresting compositions using imaginative vegan ingredients. For Arnold, who will open Santa Barbara, CA’s first farm-to-table modern vegan restaurant MESAVERDE in early spring 2014, “cooking has been another extension of the same creative impulses I’ve had my entire life. It’s a different set of senses that get stimulated, but it’s the same intention,” he says. A painter since the age of four, he spent years touring and making music as a guitar player in Los Angeles. “The Art of Plating” video he made for us encapsulates his creative spirit- he not only created the dishes, but filmed, edited, and scored the video itself.

All of the produce he used was locally sourced from the farmer’s market. The end result are dishes with components like pimenton clementine marinara, braised garbanzo, leek jus, dill oil, and nasturtium (a type of edible flower). Arnold’s food is of course much more than just a pretty plate. He has paid his dues at some of Los Angeles’ favorite restaurants – as the head chef and creator of Sage Bistro in Echo Park, and in the kitchens of Flore, Lifefood Organic, and Mooi, just to name a few. Over the years, the arts have continuously informed his cooking style. Some of his favorite painters include Anselm Kiefer, Cy Twombly, and Robert Rauschenberg. And he is inspired by “a lot of experimental looseness from bands like Can, The Grateful Dead, Tangerine Dream, Autechre.” When it comes to food, he says the seasons are his muse. “Waiting for certain ingredients to arrive and pairing them with other vegetables in the peak of their season, knowing they will only be around for a short time each year – really makes you appreciate them to their fullest.”

See the six page “Edible Art” feature by getting our new issue, available in print or digital. And follow Greg Arnold on instagram or his site.