Homemade challah is fantastic, nothing beats making your own bread! What’s even better is waking up and deciding to make french toast with that delicious fresh loaf. Everyday I appreciate the little things more and more, I find that the fine details matter more and am thankful for that extra effort the people making things we take for granted everyday.
Great products at low price are harder to come by nowadays, or at least that’s what I tell myself. Or has the abundance of knowledge at the tip of our fingers made us connoisseurs of what ever we type into google? Does it really matter? If you find something great, you’re usually willing to pay the extra buck anyway. During my cocktail craze I became well acquainted with Fentimans, their products are fantastic, gin and tonic no longer taste normal to me when made with anything else. You truly know that the establishment you’re patronizing has pride in quality product when they serve you this stuff instead of the regular canned stuff. Nothing against the canned stuff, it’s just that a 50$ bottle of gin shouldn’t be served with a tonic that doesn’t have as much character as the botanically brewed stuff!
At least a packaged product is easier to buy in bulk in case you can’t find it for a while. Fresh produce in the other hand is a pain in the butt and requires a lot of shopping around! Us Canadians, we’re spoiled, our beef quality is always pretty good, we’ll always find something good on our shelves. Seeing as that’s the case, and that our average home cook can now make a steak without messing it up, we now see a lot more product that was more directed to restaurants only at a time. Dry aged beef is one that comes to mind the most, it’s what all the steakhouses made a killing on charging an astronomical amount of money to just grill a piece of meat. When I go out, it’s usually for something that I don’t make, something that requires hours or days of preparation. But STEAK!? Pick one up for a fraction of the price and make it yourself, don’t trust yourself? Give me a call and I’ll show you a way that’s never failed me.
Eating at restaurants brings me to what I really wanted to talk about today! As a culinary student and home cook I overdo the food aspect of my life all the time, it used to be in quality of product and taste but now it’s moving into presentation and how it too plays a role in flavour. I’m not a huge fan at all of useless things on plate just put there to make it look pretty, but I’m all up for converting something that would have been on the plate into something else. My current emphasis is on cuts, the cut style you use in your plates plays a much bigger role then you would believe, the whole experience changes with a little extra effort in the perfect cut.
Tartare is a prime example of cuts, the size of an apple will change the fact that you get the crunch factor or perhaps much smaller cut will only provide the taste and go unnoticed. The fact that an oily dish needs a bitter factor to cut through that taste to keep it from becoming too rich is important also, something that you have to take into consideration. These are the little things that I’m paying much more attention too. The culinary presentation module is making me realize that I need to take the way I put things on plate into consideration, that I need to pay more attention to how I put it all together to enhance the experience of the patron.
It’s only through practice, trial and error that you fine tune those skills and work towards a dish that truly brings the wow factor to anyone that has it, from the most knowledgeable foodie to the person who just wants to have salmon on their plate. After my first attempt of creating a plate for my current module I realized that I still have a lot to learn and that I’ll have to find a way to plate hundreds of these so that it becomes second nature to swoosh the sauce on a plate.
The plate style changes all the time, the art of plating might have just made it’s way to the front page but it’s an art that’s been there for a very long time. We’ve all got to remember that in the 1950’s they thought putting food in Jello was the hot thing just like our swoosh is today. I’d have to travel in time to understand the whole Jello fish thing though… I don’t think any era will mind the sauce in what ever pattern I put it on my plate. Sauce is important, get over your sauce fear and embrace it! Make a bowl of it, get a white plate and practice on that blank canvas!