In defense of scratch made components, here is a visual explanation of why we are committed to making as much of what we serve from raw ingredients. It is a lesson in craftsmanship, which I believe is often times confused with artisanal. Pardon my beef with semantics, but here’s how I keep the two clear in my mind.
Art is the act of creating something new, whereas Craft is the act of creating something the same. Art has its focus on pushing boundaries and limits. Craft, on the other hand, knows the importance of restriction for the sake of a desirable end game. Art and Craft both have their place in the kitchen, and one must know their post times in order to bring them into the right race on schedule
Yet both have their strengths that can easily morph into a liability. The Name of Art can be used as an excuse for hiding a lazy streak. When a chef keeps saying he’s trying to do something out of the box, examine the outcome carefully. He could easily just be flying by the seat of his pants and not know what the hell he is doing. Art deserves better that spontaneous regurgitation and calling it good.
On the other hand, the Achilles Heel for the Craftsman can be the fear of trying anything new. Sticking to the same tried and true method is what makes the Craftsman who he is, but in the end, the food might get boring without an occasional shot of creativity.
This being said, making pasta is a craft. It is not an art. You want to reproduce the exact same quality, texture and taste from the manipulation of four otherwise basic ingredients every single time. Not much wiggle room at the bench here. You apply the same techniques over and over again, and therein lay a level of comfort in its reliability.