Saturday, March 20, 2010

To Plate, or Not to Plate: That is the Question

Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageously bored stiff guests.

Remember when Mom said that playing with your food was bad? Forget it. If the cooking process is logical and perfunctory, then presenting the food is fanciful and full of fun.

A good cook makes the food look good while tasting good. Humans eat with their eyes first. So the fifteen seconds after a plate reaches the table are the cook’s opportunity to honestly express the self. Hearing a diner say that she “Doesn’t know whether to eat something or roll around naked in it” is a tribute to a well thought out and plated dish.

Themes to take into account while presenting food are colors, shapes, textures, flavors, and portion sizes. Mixing and matching three or more colors on a plate, while throwing in a few dissimilar textures is a good place to start. Think deeply about it. Don’t just throw food down on the plate…finesse it. Move it around, make it distinctively your own.

My spinach salad has Serrano ham, bacon, croutons, shredded cheese, and creamy vinaigrette. Nothing exotic or problematical. What is attractive about this salad is the shape, and quirky plating. I’m nobody’s Pierre Gagnaire, so I like to keep plating simple, while not boring my guests to tears. This salad could be taken in many different directions, play with it. Use your innate creativity when cooking tonight and dazzle your spouse, children or company.

Keep in mind presentation is there for fifteen seconds, it is flavor that ultimately holds the memory. Although, what a precious fifteen seconds they are. Make them count the next time you cook.

That’s it for now…till we exchange a few words again…Peace!

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