Yes, of course, it has all of the artistic characteristics; and that has actually been the case since the most ancient of times; though the word “gastronomy” is very recent (it is often attributed to a certain Joseph Berchoux, who would have created it in 1801 for his book “Gastronomy, or the man from the fields at the table“).
The practice of cooking for the benefit of others, whether he is a paying guest or not, adheres to all the principles of the artistic professions: those who create, combine products according to their inspiration, to make unique creations. Instead of being named painters, sculptors, writers, musicians, or performers, they are called cooks.
Of course, their work is of a particular kind: unlike paintings or sculptures, it is ephemeral; it cannot be re-sold, stored, rented or made available to a large audience. It is exclusive and can only be appreciated by those who destroy it by consuming it. Finally, unlike other art forms, gastronomy derives from man exercising a vital function, because he cannot live without eating. While some may think that we can live without paintings, sculptures, or music.
As in all other artistic activities, these artists are often grouped in movements and at times comply with the trends. Similar to other artistic endeavours, some of these artists sell their works at obscene prices, though there are many others, of high quality, that are within the reach of those with modest means.
Of the other artistic activities that come closest to cooking, we can think of music, dance, theatre, performance and live performance. Similar to the aforementioned art forms, the artistic works of gastronomy are both unique and reproducible by other performers. Moreover, similarly, if something is amiss, the artist can lose his audience for a long time.
There are millions of such artists around the world. Generally, they are not recognized as artists, but rather as artisans. They are found in every village worldwide, or at least among those who managed to escape the industrialization of food, fast food chains and chemical products. They are generally known only at the neighbourhood level, and only such neighbourhoods have access to their production. And since some of these artists come from far away, customers may feel that they are traveling while consuming their work.
Some are famous, even on the global stage, and we come from all over the world to consume their productions. Some are not even cooks anymore, but have their works done by others. They just work on recipes and define the criteria of quality for the products to be used. Cooks who are chosen by them implement these recipes. We have witnessed the same types of evolution in other artistic fields.
The direction in which this art form is evolving says a lot about the world: it will want more to increasingly highlight, in all countries, a cuisine that reconciles gluttony with health; local and universal; a cuisine that is undoubtedly organic and vegetarian, that will be able say everything about the products it uses and the places it comes from; a cuisine that, like many other art forms, will combine science and creation, nature and artefacts. A great cuisine that will, in order to truly become a complete art form, become available to a wide audience.
A cuisine that, like the best artists in different artistic spheres, will glorify life, and will find a way to transmute the ephemeral into the immortal through memory.