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Defying gravity: Dishes that are not structually sound.

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Ok, I used to work in the kitchen and my previous chef whom was a very considerate person always told me to also think of the front of house when plating, i.e a little crushed almonds below your quenelle of ice-cream so it doesnt run around.

Im not working front of house as in this restaurant mainly because its got one of the best wine lists in Asia and I want to learn more about wine (besides also knowing what its like front of house). The current chef I feel is highly egotistical, knowing that he's cooking for one of the best restaurants in Singapore, if not the world (listed 78th on the worlds top 100 blah blah blah, its Les Amis if anyone wants to know).

Now, i honestly dont think the food is all that much to shout about but there is a very popular dish of Asparagus with a truffled poach egg on top of 2 spears of asp. Its easy for the d*** egg to stay there when your plating, but since we carry everything out on trays (i switch back and forth between being a runner and serving outside), the egg sometimes drops of and of course, who gets the blame and the s*** but us front of house.

Today for instance, the d*** egg was sure as h*** going to fall off so i asked the sous (who was plating) to kindly place it further into the centre, not that much work is it? But of course they instead retort and screw me for not being able to carry the tray properly even saying "What you wanna put a seatbelt on it?" Well, yea, i actually think you f***ing should.

So, to all you front of house staff out there working with egotistical chefs (and his sous), how do you deal with this kind of situation, also considering that im a very junior staff.

post #2 of 8

Had a dish at a place, it was a polenta cake stacked with two pieces of fried mozzarella side by side and then topped with roasted cherry tomato and a  chiffonade of basil , then drizzled with a marinara over top and around the plate. Invariably the servers would topple the tomatoes and basil on the way to the table.

 

My response, yes it's stacked but if I can put it on the pass without anything dropping you should be able to get it to a table. Yes, we are all busy, but if I take the time to make it right, take the time to get it to the table right.

 

This did become a sticky point but the Chef made it clear when he said no stacking the plates, carry one in each hand and ask for help if necessary, he wasn't having his plating destroyed.

"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Oh sheesh, today Chef decided to experiment with some Whelks and is quite possibly the hardest amuse or dish anyone has had to carry. It was a feat just getting it out and there were so many times where the shells (which were balanced on a mound of sea salt on a very small black tile-plate) would just fall off, spilling the suace inside the shells and having to make us run back into the kitchen and replate. Yea, it looks great, but i still think consideration should be taken into front of house staff and whether the food is gonna be able to get out there.

 

On the bright side, i met (and took a photo with) Chef Daniel Boloud!

post #4 of 8

I really don't mean to be rude......but

 

Does this mean I can no longer create something for my guests to enjoy both looking at and eating because my server does not understand the simple concept of carrying a plate in their hands without jiggling it?  I'd better stop right now!!!

post #5 of 8

Is "Les Amis" in the old Dynasty, now a Marriot?

 

Stacked food has always been a problem with me too.  A lot of effort, and the waiter can't get it to the table as you intended it to.  And it's not the waiter's fault either, it's not architectually designed to be moved around.

 

The only thing you have in your arsenal is diplomacy.  Bring it up with your boss--the maitre d' and phrase it along the lines of  " The cooks work so hard to make a nice presentation, but it just doesn't survive the trip to the guest's table."  Argueing with the cooks or the Chef won't get you anywhere--you let your boss do that for you....

 

Sometimes the best thing for "stacked food" is a silver Cloche--nothing can be higher than the cloche.

 

I remember during my apprentice days my timein the pastry.  One of the best sellers was a plate of sorbets. --jut a plain plate with assorrted quenelles of sorbet and fruit garnish.   maitre d' insisted that the plate couldn't be frozen (frozen plate anchors the sorbets down)because finger smudges would show, and the plate would sweat.  My next tactic was a small coin sized piece of vanilla sponge under each quenelle.  This worked very well--for about a week until the Maitre D' caught on and freaked out.  Next was a cigarette tuille cup, then quenelles laid ontop slices of of their respective fruits.  Each was thrown back to me by the Maitre D.  I was out of ideas and patience, and the wait staff were giving me heck becasue the sorbets would slide around.  I approached the Chef with my situation, but he could not offer me any advice.  I finally approached the G.M and asked her to deal with the situation, I presented my solutions to the problem and asked her to pick one or come up with a better one.  The tuille cups won.

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Erm, i think your thinking of Les Amis in another country or something. Les Amis has been in the same location since 1995 when it opened, we're 78th on the 100 best in the world. or something like that.

 

But getting back on point, thats a good tacticc. But why would the Maitre d be complaining about having a piece of sponge under your ice cream?

post #7 of 8

cause if it's not on the menu, don't have it on the plate. Someone who is gluten intolerant could order it thinking it's fine, then they find they have eaten a piece of spongecake, not good.

"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
Reply
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #8 of 8

Nope, left Dynasty (the one with the "Chery" on top" on Orcghard Rd, next to C.K. Tangs?.

 

Nah, the Maitre D' was just an anal orifice, had to have something to complain about.  The Hotel in question had 2 restaurants, which shared 1 (one) manual  cash register which only the Maitre D' could operate.  Dude quite after 22 years when a new G.M came in and put the whole hotel on a new computerized system, new G.M got promaoted when he raised the revenue of trhe hotel by almost 15% by simply installing  teh system....

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
Reply
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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