The Chef’s Table | Where Art Lives

The light of the sunrise is softened by sheer curtains. It bathes the ceiling, painted in a hue of powder blue. Beneath it, I feel immersed. The air is cool and the silhouette of nearby ridges are just greening. Winter came and went a week ago. Snow and ice halted spring’s early blooms. Naked trees expose ground cover, last season’s leaves are dry umber. I toss back the crisp white linens, stretch and greet the morning. ‘Tis another grand day in North Carolina, my second home, never far away.

Buttermilk pancakes laced with sugar compliment the nearby cherry blossoms.   Blueberries dot my plate like the violet bordered landscape. I measure the morning in conversation and coffee sips, whilst plotting a leisurely promenade. My destination beyond breakfast are gardens, hot houses and a conservatory. 

Amid the shrouded canopy of centuries old evergreen, I climbed flights to the garden terrace. My ears were met by a melodic sound. Compelled to seek it out, I felt certain of its realism. There is something quite distinctive exhibited in living art. No matter how much we attempt to preserve and relive it in recorded form, there is something indelibly unique in first-hand experience. Regardless of strength, volume, or quality of projection, living works can never be imitated, evoking the same impression. Memory is what we have enabling us to fulfill that wish to relive the art again and again. Feel something, see it, hear it, smell it or taste it, and you find yourself adrift in memory, reliving that moment that you did indeed live.

I heard a violin, and knew it wasn’t a recording. The conservatory speakers were silent. Sunlight glistened upon falling mist, living art was projected among cascading foliage. I can’t help but believe that plants must grow much more exuberantly when there is music cast upon their leaves.

As I meandered through this parallel garden-scape, I found myself returning to memory of pastimes filled with savory artistry.

On a day, much like this in mid-March, I arrived to the home of dear friends. In celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day, Chef Robin White planned a scrumptious feast. I’m certain that I can speak for all her and Andrea Sutton’s guests in saying there isn’t any luck needed when one can count them as friends. I consider myself blessed and indeed truly fortunate, to share moments and meals with such extraordinary kindred spirits. 

To dine at Chef Robin’s table is to experience living art to which heart and memory know no end. Personally welcomed in by Robin and Andrea, guests were embraced by two of Hillsborough’s newest and dearest residents. Arrivals, greetings, introductions and aperitifs were shared as friends and guests (who instantly became new friends) delighted in a host-led tour through the home’s artful corridors. Resonance in guest’s expressions seemed evident; we all agree, the home of Chef Robin White and Andrea Sutton is where art lives. 

A symphonic ode to both host and guest appreciations enraptured this grand affair with a private concert of harp played in the grand foyer. In celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day, the chef’s table was adorned in clover, miniature daffodils, candle light, lace and soft hues of green. Introduction to dinner was curated by Chef Robin, consisting of corned beef, cabbage, rutabagas, potatoes, roasted beets, two handmade soda breads and season’s greens laced with colors for the holiday. In honorable appreciation for the chef’s attention to detail, each guest lovingly addressed the thoughtfulness placed upon each sustainable ingredient. Along with this delicious affair, we gained a fruitful education on Irish infused English cuisine and its influence upon early American culture. 

An evening at this chef’s table is an engaging, thought provoking experience likened to the exchange of music from musician to the ears of the hearer. Chef Robin White and Andrea Sutton are making their mark upon the world in many ways. With fork and fingertips, their expansive work is engaging, their hospitality invigorating. With every grand affair however opulent or quiet, to experience their humility, and love for life is life changing.

To learn more about the Chef Robin White, to gain insight into her recipes and more, follow the chef at @Canapes45 via twitter, via and at


 Art is Life Expressed - Sarah West, owner of the Sarah West  Gallery of  Fine Art