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Plate presentation

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Hi-
Sometimes I need a little boost in the plate presentation area(new garnishes or techniques). I was wondering if anyone knows of a website where I can research some presentations or gather ideas??? Thanks,
BK
post #2 of 11
no website but i love to troll the discount aisles at the local Borders, B & N, etc....and grab those "coffee table" cookbooks for a couple of bucks.
post #3 of 11
I was looking at some of the potential presentation for Alinea, and got inspired. I also saw a very cool sauce presentation at Adega this last weekend, They put masking tape down on the plate, spread a carmel sauce with a paintbrush (rim to rim), and then pulled off the tape to create incredible clean edges. A big thing in my mind is maintaining plenty of space on the plate, so that the ingredients and sauces have the opportunity to represent themselves. A nearly empty plate makes the food seem like that much more of a feature. I maintain, however, that very small, well executed cuts do more for adding visual texture to a dish than any other element. When the guest can see how much you care about the minutae, they tend to be more apt to appreciate the dish.
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post #4 of 11
That's extremely cool Dan. I like it.

Tell you what I dislike is when people squirt sauce zigzag allover the plate.
post #5 of 11

Gave up on Garnishes

At one point, I was really into the garnishing of the plates...mostly with an Asian flair, from butterflies made out of parsnips, to off the wall tuilles to everyother thing that I could do...

Once I analyzed the entire presentation thing, I depend solely on the color, taste and textures of my plates....

Making a cornacopia out of a tuille with all the flavors that I can put into it (a sprig of thyme accented in a nice curl, or scattered fresh herbs and coarse ground blk pepper), a nice sauce that contrasts in the color of the rest of the plate....if the plate is freaking beautiful without the garnish then why garnish?

Go to my personal chef website in my siggy to further understand what I mean and click on sample photographs...

Just my two cents,

Cheffy
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post #6 of 11
I need to make a few more points about garnishes. They should not just be edible, they should be a delicious accent to the plate. I've got one favored fallback, deep fried onions. There's a lot of variety in the onion family and it's easy to give a texture accent with tobacco onions (shaved red onions, dredged in flour seasoned with salt and a touch of cayenne, fried till DARK brown), or fried leeks (3-4" pieces, 1/16" thick, rinsed thoroughly, fried in very small batches, careful not to overcook, they'll keep browning once they're out of the oil). Height on plates may be a little played out at this point, so I don't do it everytime. A vital part is making sure your accents are really accents, and you're not making every plate 7" high. Balance colors, visual textures, and heights as appropriate. By going ballistic with one garnish you'll bore yourself as well as the guest. Need I say orange and kale? (I just shuddered and got a little queasy). But there are ways to make fun of the classical garnishes, and in case you're the only one who will get the joke, make sure the plates are gorgeous.

One side note - I worked with a Phillipino Chef in Kansas City that thought everything should go into the fryer (including any waiter that had a special order). Some of his plates were stunningly beautiful, but the garnishes didn't taste that good, and I'm sure the unfamiliarity of the presentations encouraged the guests to eat the garnishes. He would put carrot butterflies onto fried (dry) linguini and have them "flying" around the plate. I feel the garnish should never take away from the dish, and although his detail work was excellent, he'd fallen into the trap of "garnish madness".

There was one beautiful presentation at Fedora Cafe however, the caesar salad was topped with a wonton triangle that had a circular hole cut into the center before frying, and three breadsticks (grissini torenesi) were threaded through the hole and stood up in a tripod, suspending the wonton about 2-3" above the salad. The salad itself was a romaine heart that had been split, brushed with oil, and marked on the hot spot on the grill, then topped with a creamy caesar and shaved parmesano regganio. Beautiful presentation of a classic dish, correctly prepared, really the epitome of a good idea, well executed.

I don't believe swinging the other way is the right idea either. One's plates can be devoid of garnish, but only if the food is beautifully prepared (sushi seems like the prefect example). But to say they no plates should receive any garnish is silly, and extremist, and without balance you will never ascend.

As far as the squeeze bottle zig-zag, I worked for Chef Vince Clark, and he found a great application for the aforementioned zig-zag. We would use thin lines of chocolate on a Kahluha Fudge brownie sundae, and it gave the plate a great visual effect, but he would constantly express the importance of consistent, evenly spaced thin lines, not crazy squiggles, so I think with attention to craft and detail can make any garnish applicable.
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post #7 of 11

Dan made some good points...

OK..I will stand corrected in a couple aspects...

First and foremost by a great point that Dan made...if the garnish doesn't fit in with your flavor, color, texture and presentation on the plate, then why are you putting it there to begin with...??????????? If it taste like crap, why destroy your plate, I don't care how pretty it is...

When I was at the International Gourmet Festival in Puerto Vallarta, the restaurant that sponsored me had a sushi chef that did some AWESOME garnishes....bland flavored so that it blended in with any flavors he put on the presentation, these were merely decoration, but accented no flavor that went along with the plate. Is that wrong? No, I don't really think so, if the garnishes held a flavor that counter-acted the flavor of the plate I would definately say yes, but his garnishes were beautiful and neutral...this was his expression of his art and not a bad thing because they did not interfere with the flavor and texture of his original idea...

As far as painting plates, I have done my good share of them also, making coulis' out of everything from yellow peppers to beets to golden beets to chipotle peppers to color infused chocolates...were the plates beautiful and did they accent the flavors of the dish, most definitely...will I do them today, not too often...

I let the presentation of the food speak for itself, the mixture of colors in my rice pilaf for instance to blend with the paleness of my protein, to the vibrancy of my sauce accented by the mixture of colors and textures of my vegetables...

This is why I choose not to garnish anymore, it is not because I do not like garnishes or do not think they work, I do it for the simplicity of who I am and what I do...

Great insight Dan...sometimes we forget the cool stuff we did before we changed our point of view...

Just another artist expressing his craft,
Chef Michael Hayes
http://restaurantedge.com/index.phtml?catid=47
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post #8 of 11
I have a question: we serve apple pie with rum raisin sauce, whipped cream and a scoop of vanilla on a round plate. how would you position them on the plate? Lately i have been lining up the pie vertically and pouring the sauce from 1 oclock to 7 oclock, just like a percentage sign. % the ice cream and whipped cream would be where the o's are.
post #9 of 11

The importance of listening

Mike-

I re-read my post, and I'm glad you didn't take it as antagonistic, you really made me feel that the time I spent writing it was well spent, because I reached the ideal audience. :) Thank you for your comments, your open minded responses show your love of what we do, and your point is taken as well. Experience dictates what presentations appeal to each Chef, and how he/she develops their own style based on trial and error. You have my respect if your motivations are thought through, and clearly you've had the experience to do so.

Artameates-

I'm having trouble visualizing you plate. Is the pie set on it's side, or laying flat? Is the pie pointed towards 6 o'clock? How big is the plate (8" round?)? How big is the rim of the plate (1.5"?)? What shape is the ice cream? Have you considered using a large quenelle? Is the ice cream going in the front (with the presentation as I'm seeing it, it sounds like it should be)? Is there anyway you could post a pic?

If you're asking about this plate here, I'm assuming you're bored with the presentation, and I'd love to help but this it's hard without being able to clearly visualize what your doing. If the sauce is going on top of the pie, I'm going to give the old school warning about taking your flaky pie crust and destroying the texture with the sauce. I really like evenly spaced dots of dessert sauce, or a curved line of pools that get larger as you move in one direction, but you've got to practice this technique (a lot!) in order to make it even and visually appealing. Failure to practice it first will lead to frustration, and remember to let your servers know that the plating is going to take a little longer. One other idea is the one in my previous post, using masking tape to cover pary of the plate, painting the sauce with a paintbrush (don't use a pastry brush, it's too soft) and the tearing off the tape to create a clean line. If you're planning to improve it, don't get yourself weeded trying to improve a detail. Set yourself up for success with communication. On that note, have you asked your cooks and servers what they think of the presentation? I know it's can be very humbling to ask the opinions of your co-workers, but remember, great chefs listen to everyone's opinions, then decides what HE/SHE is going to do.
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post #10 of 11
How did you make your beet coulis?
post #11 of 11

Is 4 years too late to answer question about beet coulis?

I would roast the beets then puree them with a neutral colored veg stock the food mill the beets, check viscosity and keep them in squirt bottles in hot water on the line for garnishing...yellow beets were my fave, the color is so vibrant...


Cheffy
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