My personal feeling is that it's a type of craft and not really a true art. My reasoning? as follows....
1) Art is created to elicit an emotional and/or intellectual response from an audience--food may elicit a response of memory or good or bad reactions based on the sensory appeal, but deep emotional feeling or intellectual thought or discussion is not generally brought on by eating a meal.
2) Art has lasting social, historical and cultural impact (either positive or negative) on large groups of people. If only a few people can partake of haute cuisine and it is consumed, how can it have that kind of impact? After all, no matter how good the dish, it's fodder for the plumbing tomorrow.
3) Art is something completely original and different each time it is created or performed and cannot be duplicated (eventhough there are some pretty good foreries out there.) Chefs base their recipes on tried and proven formulas although they are varied (ie theme and variation). Also, successful chefs strive for consistency of production and presentation of each dish. Repeat customers depend on it (so do sales).
Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to dismiss food vocations as being invalid, just trying to inject a little perspective. I love great food, I also love beautiful weaving, pottery and glass. But can any dish prepared by Jean-Georges, Emeril, or Escoffier, for that matter, stand up to Donatello's or Michelangelo's "David", Van Gogh's "Starry Night", Rodin's "the Thinker" Shakespeare's "Hamlet" or any one of a zillion other compositions?
I may be setting off a firestorm, here, but at least we'll have a lively discussion.
Weigh in folks!