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Culinary art is the art of cooking. The word "culinary" is defined as something related to, or connected with, cooking or kitchens. A culinarian is a person working in the culinary arts. A culinarian working in restaurants is commonly known as a cook or a chef. Culinary artists are responsible for skillfully preparing meals that are as pleasing to the palate as to the eye. Increasingly they are required to have a knowledge of the science of food and an understanding of diet and nutrition. They work primarily in restaurants, fast food chain store franchises, delicatessens, hospitals and other institutions. Kitchen conditions vary depending on the type of business, restaurant, nursing home etc.
Buddhist cuisine is a name sometimes given for an East Asian cuisine which is primarily vegetarian, in order to keep with the general Buddhist precept of ahimsa (non-violence) toward all sentient beings.
Vegetarian cuisine is known as zhāicài ("(Buddhist) vegetarian food") in China, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan; shōjin ryōri ("devotion cuisine") in Japan; sachal eumsik ("temple food") in Korea and by other names in many countries.
As an art, chefs have become very creative in making tasty dishes which are also visually appealing, such as those shown in the photos here. While it is clear that a fully enlightened arahant may have little use and no attachment to mundane things such as making the food visually appealing, for other Buddhists and those interested in Buddhism, art (which includes the culinary arts) can be a wholesome action and interest. The Buddha saw the value of the arts because he said monks and nuns could beautify their monasteries by painting them different colours and decorating them with various geometrical and floral designs (Vinaya 2. 117). As Buddhism spread in the centuries after the Buddha's passing his teachings gave an impetus to all the arts - painting, sculpture, poetry, drama and to a lesser degree music. There are Buddhist Vinaya rules against monks and nuns indulging in arts, shows, games, and dancing, but this rule does not apply to lay people. Monks and nuns are supposed to devote their lives to the study and teaching of Dhamma and it would look unseemly for them to be seen by lay people engaged in such things as watching movies, painting pictures, or discussing creative chess strategies.