There are three types of people in the world: those who make the rules, those who follow them and those who say "no thank you," break them and follow their own set of norms. Tia Keenan, renowned chef and fromager, is one of those incredibly talented rule breakers.
"I think the creative thought process has no boundaries, as boundaries are the enemy of creativity," Tia said. "I can’t imagine only being inspired by food, how boring! The challenge for me in the creative process is to have the discipline to narrow my focus and clearly express my idea, not to let every influence muddle my vision."
And she no doubt has the experience to back her visions. Tia ran Murray's Cheese Bar and The Modern's cheese program and was head chef at NYC's first cheese restaurant Casellula where she mixed traditional compositions with her experimental plates, including her famous cheese sushi. She now has her own consulting firm which works with a variety of clients in the food business. And it seems the entire industry, from small specialty brands to chain restaurants, is buzzing with the same kind of mentality: true change.
"I think the concept of mutual aid is going to have a profound impact on the food industry and the future in general," she said. "I think Panera Bread and Chipotle flirt with this idea of reciprocal capitalism, that everything we consume is connected and has an impact."
From chain restaurants, large and small, to our favorite local haunts, everyone can relate in some capacity. "When your local Brooklyn restaurant tells you about the farm from where their asparagus comes, you willingly pay a premium price for it because you're buying into an entire structure of ideas, values and ecosystems that make you feel good about yourself and the world around you. And it can't just be a trend, it has to be a movement for it to have real meaning. But if we’re going to have real change in American food, this concept is going to get us there."
And though Tia has been working with her clients on business models and foundations for their businesses this year, her mind still bubbles over with creativity. She utilized her incredible talent for putting together the most beautifully simple cheese arrangements to create stunningly complex compositions to complement her favorite Anthem Wares pieces. What started as a purely aesthetic concepts became technical as she built her ideas.
"When I was looking at the gorgeous accessories on Anthem Wares, I first picked the items I loved and would wear," she said. "From there, I started to think technically – which of these items could I translate into a cheese composition? What do I have in my toolbox that could answer to some of these pieces? I loved the duality of the necklace, the tongue-in-cheek of the bow tie and the cage-symbolism of the earrings."
And so it goes, fashion and food - our two favorite things - meet in the most dramatic of ways in Tia's gorgeous compositions.