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cooking to impress , need help???!!!

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
hi guys need help on cooking and baking , i only have one time to impress this person ( a chef ) about my cooking and baking skill. what do you think i should make for him( cake/ pastry and cooking too ) to make a long lasting impression???!!! his cooking style is more Italian with a bit Asian influence. also he likes to cooked fish/ seafood and a bit of beef.

thxs ,


ps: i should make 1 cake/ pastry and i cooking dish, help???!!!
post #2 of 17
Are you trying to impress him to get a job, or just to show you can cook?

If you just want to show him you can cook, avoid all the areas he specializes in. Cook somehting you know well and have been complimented on, make sure it's something completely from scratch, without packaged pre-made components (don;t use pudding mix, or instant mashed potatoes, even if they are for a small component of the final dish).

And don't do Italian, or Asian, and don't do seafood.

Many chefs don;t do pastry so make your absolutely best desert. It can be simple, but it should be good. Don't do tiramisu, it's hohum for an italian cook. Don't try for more elaborate than you are familiar with.
Use "Real" everything , vanilla, chocolate, etc.

Make sure it looks nice. Don't just slap something in the serving dish, make it carefully, set it up so it looks nice, even if home style, without fancy "plating" but make it look like you care (e.g., think about the color of the serving dish and how it enhances or detracts from the food in it. White usually looks good with everything, a sage green enhances practically everything, blue or red are not too good with most foods, black is dramatic with a dish that is primarily white, patterns generally detract from the food put on them etc.) Mainly, think about it, and show you thought about it. It can be rustic ceramic, it doesn;t have to be fine china, but think of how the food will look in it.

Think about your vegetable dish. Make it good, simple, very colorful (green or red or yellow, whatever it is), don;t cover it too much with sauces so you don;t see the color, esp if you have a sturdy or substantial or heavy main course. If there is local produce at a farm stand, it's worth going for that. Spend more on vegetables than you normally would, since vegetables are not all that expensive in the end.

If there is an ethnic cuisine you know well, that your family cooked, if it;s not italian or asian, then go for that.

Don't try too hard to impress, just try to care about how the food tastes and looks. Simple things done well are best.

Good luck!
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
post #3 of 17
Is this for only 2 courses, or an appetiser, main and a desert?

What sprang to mind for me for was:

Moulles Mariniere
Tornedos Rossini
Chocolate Fondant

The seafood needs to be cooked just right to show how well you can do it, and the sauce not too acidic, well balanced, well seasoned, not overdone and chewy.

The tournedos will need to be well seasoned, cooked rare (make sure to ask the chef how they prefer it) but crusted on the outside and rested well before serving, the foie not burnt but just caramelised. Mushrooms grilled till just soft but not overdone.

The fondant must be soft and "gooey" inside- this is for some a hard dish to tackle and get right.

I think this would show a range of skills to the chef - not sure if its what you are after, but it does include a lot of proceses to show off your skills.
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
thxs for the advice just some question , what is Moulles Mariniere andTornedos Rossini??? i know chocolate fondant , done that before but we usually do the asian version which less sweet and less rich which one do you think i should do??? he come from german and i wanted to suit his taste ^_^
post #5 of 17
This is Moules Mariniere (got it off Google):

BBC - Food - Recipes - Moules mariniere

This is Tourneos Rossini, basically a tower of fried bread, fillet steak, mushrooms,foie de gras. (Plenty of recipes if you Google it)

Tournedos rossini: Recipes: UKTV Food

I think with the Chocolate fondant you should go the rich, sweet version, if he is from Germany. The european palate likes sweetness, the asian palate not so sweet, in general. I think it would go better with the steak and fish dish.

Maybe someone will suggest an asian menu - I am more familiar with western flavours.

Good Luck - let us know what you do and how it goes :)
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

post #6 of 17
HIME, if it's summer where you live then think Summer or cool food.

I've had the pleasure of working with many incredible chefs, including some you'd recognize (including a CMC). Keep it simple. Use the freshest best ingredients you can find.

Frankly, it's 90+ degrees here with humidity that makes it feel even hotter.....the thought of mussels, fancy filet mignon, and a hot chocolate dessert reads like winter.....which is probably the season DC Sunshine is in right now.


Chilled soup. whatever is in season where you it would be beet soup, or corn soup. I'd come up with an interesting garnish and some handmade crackers or cheesey biscuits.

Entree. gotta tell you a composed salad read pretty good right now, such as nicoise with fresh blue fin tuna, haricot verte, fingerling potatoes, egg, baby greens, shallot tarragon dressing.....can be made ahead so you can enjoy dinner too. But if you are just serving him and not joining the dinner party....sear off fresh fish at the last minute, have a sauce, veg, starch....

Such as Pan seared salmon with buerre blanc, or sorrel sauce (retro from the 80's), lively green vegetable, starch with a little twist....possibly wild mushrooms or garlic scapes or ?

Dessert.....There's a thread on interesting ice creams.......fresh fruit....light refreshing.
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #7 of 17

You seem most comfortable with pastry baking, asian foods, and you've got some professional training (as well as comfort) in "International Cuisine" (aka modern French). This is not only your comfort zone, it's a wonderful mix.

Your very structured approach is a huge strength. I'm familiar with your thorough planning, and get the feeling your execution ranges from very good to better. Based on what I do know about you, if I had to come up with a criticism of your cooking... I couldn't. You're the real deal. Accept the compliment, it's true.

To impress a good chef you want to balance fresh, local, appropriate for the weather, appropriate for the occasion, appropriate for the guest, and your own strengths.

I'm not familiar enough with your markets to know what's fresh and local but my suggestion is to build your meal around a fish or shellfish main course, with a preliminary beef course.

Normally, I'd start with fish and move to beef, but you emphasized your guest's preference for fish. So, for instance, you could start with a satay or beef-stick made from fillet, served on a bed of salad; follow with chilled, Spanish style almond and garlic soup (blanco de ajo); in turn, followed by a Riviera style roasted fish, stuffed with local herbs/greens (the dish was created with savory, but other things, for instance a combination of thai basil and sawgrass would work very well) in orange-ginger sauce (props to Roger Verge). Your opera cake, served with a quenelle of green tea ice cream, sounds like a happy ending to me.

Consider these suggestions as soft indeed. You want to start with the idea of using whatever is "the best available," and building your menu around the ingredients.

So? What's good in the markets?

post #8 of 17
much better details from BDL.....where did you find the summer reference?
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #9 of 17
It's usually pretty summery in southern Asia.

post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
hi BDL, first i wanted to say thxs so much for the help and your compliment :D

now in my place is summer and it's very hot(36 c - 40 c) so i agree that we should serve something refreshing.

now we have a lot of nectarine , plums ,peaches and lychee ( now we have a huge one which is very sweet we called it king of lychee ) also watermelons and melons since it's summer.

for the veggies white asparagus and tomatoes are very nice now. for fish, lobster and prawns( fresh water ) are great now.

to tell truthfully my confidence in fish is not so high cause i'm not eat too much of fish so my knowledge of it not so vast also the fish i know mostly is asian( yellowtail fish , bawal/ promfert fish,catfish ,etc ) usually fish that great for steaming or deep fried.

what do you think i should do ???

ps: the fish here mostly is fresh water fish cause it's better and fresher.
post #11 of 17
Do what you do best, whatever that is. Make what you are most comfortable making, and can make without a lot of checking recipes. You won't impress by doing something badly (or half-*** :lol:). You will impress if you show confidence in what you do.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
post #12 of 17

Let's start with the premise that you're a better pastry chef than I am. Partly as a result of my limitations and partly as a matter of my own taste, I tend towards rustic pastry presentations rather than sophisticated. Remember those things when you consider my advice and make your own decisions.

The nectarines, plums and peaches all suggest tarts to me -- specifically the rustic style of tart called a gallette.

The lychee suggests panna cotta. Obviously, I know well you do a panna cotta. The only thing that worries me about doing a panna cotta is that it's not a really elaborate dessert. Perhaps if you sided it with some killer cookies. Tuilles of some sort. I've never had, seen nor heard of it, but I bet lychee sorbet would be great. You probably don't want to get into the kind of heavy meal which wants a palate cleanser though. As a stand alone dessert, sorbet is even simpler than panna cotta. Still, given the weather it could be a really good choice.

How about a melon or watermelon cocktail to start? You'd make an agua fresca by pureeing the melon with some water and a little sugar. Then sieve it (a couple of times to get it clear and glossy and because you're a pro), and mix with soju, shochu, vodka, tequila or light rum plus just a splash of creme de menthe. I suppose you could use brem but think arak might have too much of an edge. My preferences are soju and rum.

I can't get anyone to make almond garlic soup, can I? :cry: There are a million ways to make tomatoes star. Gazpacho would be perfect.

Time to learn.

Bawal, silver or black, is perfect for the orange ginger thing. The dish is very easy to do, showy (if you can supreme an orange), and will highlight your versatility. You don't do much more than roast the fish and serve it with a sauce which is reduced orange juice with a lot of butter mounted into it. (In other words, an orange beurre monte.) Getting back to bawal, it not only works for the recipe it's wonderfully local and makes for a great fusion.

You have black bawal right? Bawal puthi?

The major trick with fish is not to over cook it. Fortunately the weight/time/temperature rules will work well enough that we can get it to the table without taking it too far, and still have it done enough to eat comfortably.

1. Cocktail service: Melon/mint cocktails; local snack foods on the table. Ask yourself what the most gracious grandmother you know would serve with cocktails if she didn't want to cook. Serve that.

2. Appetizer: Satay (use fillet mignon, cut just thick enough that it can be cooked rare), served on a bed of very fresh, young greens dressed with best olive oil, best balsamic, sea salt and pepper; side with an individual dipping dish of non-peanut sate sauce.

3. Soup: Gazpacho

4. Main: Roast Bawal with herbs and orange-ginger sauce; garnish with white asparagus (the orange-ginger sauce will work for the asparagus as well).

5. Dessert: Lychee panna cotta and (your best, light) cookies. Alternative 1: Nectarine gallette garnished with chantilly cream. Alternative 2: Peach gallette garnished with ginger ice cream (I love peach and ginger together).

Bread: A bread basket would go nicely with the appetizer, soup and main courses. If you're a bread baker, I suggest three in the basket. Something like: Pain de campagne, olive bread, and "Celtic Harvest" (like "Struan"). If you're not a bread baker -- or if the idea of baking bread on top of everything else is overwhelmong -- go with best local baguette plus a sweet, whole wheat.

Not to repeat myself but... this proposed menu is a tool, not the ten commandments. If you like it enough to want to use some or all of it, I'll be glad to write specific recipes for you. No doubt my satay techniques will provide some comedic relief if not a lot of new information.

One thing I'll need to know is about what size bawal are available to you. Obviously a fish big enough for the table will take longer to cook than several smaller fish. Also, how many people at the party?

post #13 of 17
sorbet with fruit soup and small dice fruit, Four Seasons served it in Chicago several years ago.....definately fine dining. If you are into jellies, caramels, chocolate work, consider a platter of tiny sweets.
cooking with all your senses.....
cooking with all your senses.....
post #14 of 17
Chefs love soup. If you have a seasonal cold soup you like then you're set. Maybe something where you could bake some sourdough to go with. Or you could also consider cold somen noodles with dipping sauce.

In the summer I want to cook outdoors so I'd probably grill something. Maybe pork tenderloin cranberry gastrique and grilled vegetables.

As for desert lychee coconut sorbet is excellent.
post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
first i wanted to say i like you ideas about the satay with beef, which is very unusual in asia we usually have chicken, lamb and egg even veggies but never beef.

i like about the lychee sorbet ideas i think that will be perfect with the lychee we having now. so for the dessert i thinking either the lychee sorbet or the Peach gallette garnished with ginger ice cream ( white or yellow peach??? ) also can i have the gallette recipes since i never make them :D

for the fish we have bawal putih now and usually come not too big ( i also prefer the small one since have a softer texture than the bigger one )

for the Gazpacho what tomatoes should i used, now we have many range from big to small, green yellow red and purple and some orange.

also cocktail should i mix soju and rum or should i choose one???

if it don't trouble you can i have the recipes i would very much appreciate it , since i wanted to practice it before i make on the day. i like to prepare before hand hahahahha :D

and also for BDL,siduri, dc sunshine, shroomgirl,suzanne,and foodmagic thxs for the reply and the advice it's been very helpful :D
post #16 of 17

i would like to see the recipes too.
post #17 of 17
If you would like, you could try using a recipe that chef Michael Psilakis uses.
It's a recipe for Anthos Greek salad.
I personally have tried this recipe, and it is delicious.
Here's the recipe for you -

Anthos Greek Salad by Chef Michael Psilakis



1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
3 cloves of garlic confit
Salt and pepper to taste


1/4 head baby romaine, washed and trimmed
1/4 head Red Belgian endive
1 oz. baby beets (pink, red and orange roasted with EVOO salt and pepper, peeled and quartered)
1 oz. yellow wax beans (blanched, chilled, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
1 oz. green peas (blanched, chilled, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
1.5 oz. Dodonis feta cheese, cut into 1/2 in. cubes.
5 Kalamata olives quartered and pitted
Small handful picked herbs (chives, dill, parsley and baby basil)


1. For the vinaigrette, puree 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, lemon juice, mustard and 3 cloves garlic in a blender, then emulsify by slowly drizzling in the olive oil while whisking.

2. Combine the all vegetables and herbs in a large bowl, and toss together with approx. 1/3 of the dressing to make sure they are all evenly coated, place on a plate, and serve.

Hope it helps!

- Raithe
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