This article applies the rhetorical and deliberately provocative approach of the watershed essay art historian Linda Nochlin wrote in 1971——““Why Have there Been No Great Women Artists?””——to today's culinary industry. Nochlin used the question her title posed as a theoretical trap that would draw attention not only to the inherent sexism or prejudice that pervades the way the public perceives art, but also to those same issues' existence within and impact on academia and the other cultural institutions responsible for posing these sorts of questions. Nochlin bypassed the obvious and irrelevant debate over women's being less or differently talented and, in so doing, exposed that debate for being a distraction from the heart of the matter: how, sociologically (media) or institutionally (museums, foundations, etc.), people define a ““great artist.”” Although it's 40 years later, the polemic is as effective when used to understand the gender divide in the food world.
This article looks at French Michelin favorite Thierry Marx and his unique approach not just to cooking, but also to the notion of terroir itself. From his near-obsession with the Paulliac lamb born and bred in the Medoc region to his nomadic culinary background, he simultaneously embraces and rejects the classic identification with one's own soil and the harvest the latter reaps. This renegade and seemingly oxymoronic stance begs for and inspires a re-defining of that micro-regional concept in an age where globalism and multiculturalism dominate.