An Artisan /ˈɑːrtəzn/ (formal), (from French: artisan, Italian: artigiano) is a skilled craft worker who makes or creates material objects, partly or entirely by hand. Artisans practice a craft and may -through experience and aptitude- reach the expressive levels of an artist.
Artisans were the dominant producers of consumer products before the Industrial Revolution. In the modern age of mechanization and single task production lines, where success is measured via a constant quest to cut costs, improve profit margins, growth for growth’s sake, and an ever-increasing dividend to shareholders. Products are often seen as lacking in finesse, elegance or even quality, with creating a thing of beauty, individuality, and with customer satisfaction in mind as being lost to the realms of high expense and luxury instead of modest, everyday expectation.
Artisans have returned to prominence by a society left disenfranchised and unconnected to the soulless mechanization of goods manufactured by faceless corporate giants who hide behind logos and have little to do with nurturing the care and wellbeing of the communities whose dollars they seek.
Today, to be Artisan is to be family-owned or owned by a small group of like-minded friends, to strive to use the finest ingredients, to use fresh, local ingredients wherever possible, and to make products with your hands, your head, and most importantly, your heart. To love and serve your community just as they inspire you and finally, to share with them the exceptional quality of your goods, a result of your commitment, your devotion, and your passion for your craft.
Shokunin is the Japanese word for “artisan” it also implies a certain pride in one’s work.
In ‘The Art of Fine Tools’ by Sandor Nagyszalanczy, Tashio Odate explains shokunin:
“Shokunin means not only having technical skill but also, it implies an attitude and social consciousness… a social obligation to work his best for the general welfare of the people, an obligation both material and spiritual.”
But it’s not as if inanimate objects can possess a soul, is it!? Or is it?
To be an artisan is to pour enough of yourself into your art, your craft, into what you are producing, so as to imbue it with certain characters and qualities that are made up of all your training, your knowledge your skill, your emotions, your sensitivities, passions, desires, and dreams, with the hope that this can in some way be seen, felt or even tasted by the people who are good enough to buy it, those people who are part of your community, who you care for and are in turn your inspiration; thus completing the cycle and the true nature of things.
At Khema, our chefs and bakers embrace this philosophy, it is ingrained into our DNA, it is both who we are and how we aim to be, our identity, and our living practice every day, in everything we do.
The famous buttery, flaky, viennoiserie pastry is now as French as good cheese and fine wine. However, to make a truly great croissant is an art form that takes dedication, patience, skill, the finest ingredients, and the knowledge passed down through generations. Artisan croissants are handmade, from the finest flour and butter, with a great feel and technique through every step of the process, from the formation of the pre-dough to the all-important lamination, the fermentation, and finally the baking.
Artisan croissants are puffy, due to the attention and care taken to make the dough “feuilleté”. Artisan Croissants are rich in full buttery flavour, they are flaky and layered with rich, yet airy pastry and they have a light crunch on top, due to lacquering prior to baking.
At Khema we take great pride in our Croissants ensuring that each and every single one is an original little masterpiece for your mouth and heart food for your soul.
**Written By Darren Gall