One of my favorite quotes from one of my kitchen mentors. He's absolutely right.
No matter how lovely a course may be composed, if it tastes like the dog's dinner, no one will remember it.
Likewise, if a dish looks like a pile of shit but is magic in the mouth, people will remember it.
I live for plating. It's my creative outlet; a blank canvas to play in. Food has to taste good, that's a given. I've been cooking since I was 12, learning to create flavor profiles, layering flavors, varying textures and temperatures within courses.
However, it was not until 2001 when I read The French Laundry Cookbook that my mind was totally opened to plating. Thomas Keller's flawless and exquistie presentations blew my mind. That freak was making food look otherworldly. I wanted my food to look like that.
Now, I am no Thomas Keller, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night but I will share some of my thoughts on what it takes me to try and make food look half-decent.
- Curiosity - Colors, textures, and shapes all play a role. You can't just throw it on a plate and it's ready to go to the pass. Think about how it looks, move things around, investigate.
- Patience - Give yourself a break. It may not happen on the first go. Sometimes I plate a dish 10 times before I am happy. It's an organic process.
- Persistence - It may take weeks, months or years to find your voice, or in this case style. Quitters never win though.
The point is not to copy the way someone plates a dish. Any asshole can do that.
True creation is honestly expressing the self. To be able to stare at a completed dish and honestly say inside your heart of hearts, "Fuckin' A, that's me on the plate right there.
Learn concepts, techniques, theories and apply them. Express yourself, it's fun.
Quickly about this dish cause your attention span went about 3 minutes before you came here today.
- Cauliflower puree makes an awesome fake "mashed potato."
- Green beans are the universe's gift to cooks.
- When searing fish on a pan, DO NOT USE TOO MUCH OIL, or you will never get a good sear. You want maximum fish contact with the pan.
- If you are frantically searching for the broccoli...it's the pretty dots.
- The pepper used on the cauliflower was Piment d'Espelette. Thanks Tanantha.
That's it for now...till we exchange a few words again...Peace!