Chef Akshay Kulkarni Head Of The Department Culinary Academy Of India Hyderabad
What is a chef? Is it someone who makes your food at the restaurant? Or is it someone who follows standard procedure to bring recipes to life? Truth be told, a chef is a combination of all of this and much more. At the core though, a chef is an artist. There’s a lot more to preparing a delicious meal than just following a recipe. It’s not just about the taste, it’s about the look, the feel, and a whole lot more. In simple words, it’s about engaging all the senses.
This is why I believe a chef is an artist. And not just a simple one at that. After all, a painter engages you visually and a musician aurally, but a chef is tasked with engaging all your senses. A chef also has to create an experience for you and other diners. Not only does the food need to be spectacular and the centerpiece of the affair, but there needs to be an element of pizzazz and style to it.
Oftentimes, when a chef makes food it costs more than the streetside vendor. Some people complain about the portion size. But there’s a lot more to fine dining than just size and budget. And although ingredients, recipes, and styles may vary, the biggest differentiator is the experience. A white plate is a chef’s blank canvas. The chef can do as they please with the plating and styling. In fact, recipes and plates prepared by a chef look refined and inviting. The fact of the matter is, spare newspaper does not a plate make.
This is the basic idea behind this presentation. Not only is the food prepared with extreme care and attention to detail, but a lot of thought goes into the plating too. This prop is made out of tallow, which gives an original feel and look. In addition to the tallow, a metal rod was used to give the desired shape. This shape was then painted. But none of this was done without thought and foresight. With this concept, we set coffee pots in the air that are pouring coffee into cups, also suspended in the air. This is paired with pastries and macrons, also made using tallow.
The reason for using tallow is because it’s highly flexible and it can offer more support than wax. Although Plaster of Paris (PoP) is an alternative, this is an extremely hard material that doesn’t offer the right texture. The prop is 1.2ft x 1.6ft x 2.3ft. The base is made using a pallet-shaped wooden plank that is 3.x2.6ft. All this makes for a big, elegant visual. But looks can get you only so far, it’s about the taste too.
This is why we prepared a delicious plate full of colorful food. Our plate consists of a roulade of sea bass, a polenta parcel, butter garlic prawns, spinach puree, beet ink, red pepper jus, balsamic reduction, glazed tourneed carrots, and fluted mushrooms. All this is elegantly presented in stylish white plates allowing the colors to pop out on the white plate.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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