Today we’d like to introduce you to Janette Gomez.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
Since as far back as I can remember when I was a little girl, I had three passions, Photography, Art & Food! All of them creative all of them me! And all of them were fostered by my family. My grandfather was a photographer, my grandmother a chef/nutritionist and my uncle and parents loved art and museums. As I got older, I realized my applied fine art skills weren’t as natural, but my eye and love of art, photography and food shined.
My family encouraged me to go to college, which of course landed me on a journey to get my advanced degrees in Art History and Photography. I kept my passion and love for creating delicious food a hobby, and often entertained for friends and family. Like many, I arrived at my mid-career and realized I wanted food to take a bigger piece of my life pie. I had a health scare and my repressed food passions were making themselves louder and harder to ignore.
So, I followed that road and realized working in someone else’s restaurant was not going to fan the flames of my creativity. So, I carved my own path and became a Private Chef and started a line of Artisanal Handcrafted Sauces and Spices. Many of which I made for years and people would ask me for them. I love to teach and also love to share my passion for cooking with others, so I also offer cooking classes. Lastly, I make photography part of my career as well, as I also photograph all my food for Social Media. I literally have my hands in every pot.
Please tell us about your art.
My art is my food. Ingredients are my paints, and the plate is my palate. Flavors are colors and my mind are constantly mixing these ‘food colors’ to see what comes out. Some of them don’t work out so well as many creative people will attest, but when they do, they sing! I love to make food, as all of my food is made with love. I know that’s a pretty big cliché, but clichés exist for a reason. I also love to make food beautiful.
I LOVE to teach people about flavor and to have them try things they are not used to. I am constantly cooking, but if I don’t feel its photo worthy, I don’t shoot it. Hence why my social media is not on fire with daily posts. I am hyper critical of my work and if I’m not proud of it, no one experiences it. Except my partner, who is my taste tester and many times she loves it and makes me happy, but those become our moments.
My company name is The Fig & The Knife. It is more than just a cool name, as I often get complimented. It has its own story. The Fig to me is a symbol of the ‘exotic’ foods that many of us didn’t grow up knowing. To many people feel that things they didn’t grow up eating is ‘weird’. I want people to learn about ALL foods and at least try them. Understand their origin and why some cultures LOVE that particular food. The Knife is a symbol for the desire to ‘conquer’ or take on that challenge of despite your fear of the food, or fear of unknown cultures, you are armed with the gusto to eat and learn. Not to mention that I find knives beautiful. Both the Fig and the Knife are crafted by an expert, nature and an artisan respectively. I have respect and love for both and want to convey that to others.
Choosing a creative or artistic path comes with many financial challenges. Any advice for those struggling to focus on their artwork due to financial concerns?
Do it anyway. I often struggle with this. Seeing more money go out for supplies and copious amounts of time invested in getting items, thinking, packaging, materials, food, advertising, etc. etc. than usually comes in.
At times it pays out when you get a local company choosing your products to give as corporate gifts, publications picking up your photography, recipes or wanting to know about you, (case in point), or your regular customers coming back week after week looking for their favorites.
Doubts consistently come in to your mind, but if you are passionate about it and aren’t doing it for the money, it will come. As long as I have enough to pay the piper and I’m doing what I love, it beats sitting in a corporate office wishing I was doing what I love.
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I work remotely throughout Phoenix and surrounding valley. I offer my Private Chef services to those looking to have small catered events for wine parties, or dinner dates. I can prepare the meals in your home or cater them and drop off. I also offer In-Home Cooking Classes for both one on one and small groups. I recommend scheduling several weeks in advance.
I’m at Farmer’s Markets and Events around the Valley. My home base market is currently Phoenix Public Market in Downtown Phoenix, Saturday mornings from 8 am to 1pm year-round. All events are noted on my website at www.thefigandtheknife.com.
You can also find my products at select stores around the valley. Such as Sphynx Date Company, and Connections in the Sky Harbor Airport. You can see a featured article in the December 2018 issue of Phoenix Magazine. They talk about my flagship sauce Fig & Apricot Spread, as well as my other Fig Products. However, I have much more than fig products. My recipes and photography have been featured in Edible Phoenix Magazine and Green Living AZ magazine. I have an Instagram and Facebook page that can be found @thefigandtheknife. Again, my website will have many details at www.thefigandtheknife.com.
- Address: Phoenix, Arizona
- Website: www.thefigandtheknife.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @thefigandtheknife
- Facebook: @thefigandtheknife
All Food Photography taken by Janette Gomez.
Photos of Janette Gomez taken by Professional Photographer Barbara M. Hernandez