I’m Michael Laiskonis, Creative Director
here at the Institute of Culinary Education. Plate presentation is really
where each individual chef will let their creativity shine. I’m going to take
a look at important elements of presentation. Composition: this is where
we make aesthetic choices, design elements like basic composition, height,
color, symmetry. We’re going to illustrate these ideas by plating up a yogurt panna
cotta. So I’m going to begin with a cylinder of our yogurt panna cotta. I’m
placing it slightly off-center. By creating an asymmetrical composition
we’re creating a lot of negative space which creates some movement on the plate.
A thin strawberry gelée and I’m going to plate the lemon confit into three piles.
Generally speaking odd numbers tend to look more attractive to our eye than
even numbers. A little bit of basil seed; some very thin slices of candied celery;
a few slices of strawberry; some celery leaf. I’d like to place these as if they were
falling from the heavens to create upward movement. So we have red against
green and the reason why that works is because on a color wheel they’re
complementary colors; however, even though it works in this presentation, the
flavors work as well. I try to avoid adding color just for the sake of color,
unless it adds something to the flavor of the dish. A little bit of lime cream,
again, to use odd numbers, five dots. Just a little drizzle of a basil-infused
olive oil. For our strawberry panna cotta: slightly asymmetrical in the plating, odd
numbers of components and because it’s a fairly lateral presentation we’re using
the natural shape of our ingredients to create that motion. Balance is when we look at the portion
and proportion of our components and how they might actually shift the focus of
the dish. Here the inspiration is très leches. We want to lighten up that
presentation and actually use cake as a garnish. Create more of a fruit-driven
dessert by starting with a little dulce de leche. The depth of this bowl allows
us to make a really interesting swipe. This pineapple has been roasted with some
vanilla, star anise and rum. Next comes our cake component of sponge cake soaked
in evaporated milk, condensed milk, and coconut milk. To amplify the fruitiness,
some mango pearls. Ground hazelnut. Coconut sorbet right
onto the hazelnut to keep that from sliding around. A little lime cream, fresh
grated lime zest. Tres leches reinvented simply by
shifting the portion and proportion of our components to create more of a fruit-driven dish. Shape: this is where we concerned
ourselves with the actual shape of our ingredients and I like to use this as an
exercise in simplicity and refinement. Taking a cue from not only Japanese
aesthetics but also ingredients. So I have a black sesame and milk chocolate
parfait that’s set on a Kinako wafer. Kinako is a toasted soybean powder. I’m
also not going to muddy up this presentation with too many flavors. I’m
going to echo the sesame with a little bit of ground black sesame powder.
Preserved cherry on top because we have a sour cherry center.
Caramelized rice, a little red shiso, some confectioners sugar. The black of the
plate will allow this to pop. I’m going to dust the rim of the plate again to
kind of accentuate the roundness and then finish with a little bit of matcha
green tea powder. We’re kind of creating a variation on a theme, lots of round
shapes superimposed on top of each other. Texture is all about how we feel the
food, so we’re looking at soft, creamy firm, hard, brittle, crunchy and how those
textures interact. So it’s a lot about the contrasts, contrast in temperatures
as well. And we’ll be doing a play off of a vacherin, which is classically a dessert
that includes meringue, some sort of frozen element and some sort of creamy
element. So we’re going to start with that creamy element: simple vanilla cream. And
I’m using this Front of the House Monaco Bowl because the shape of this bowl
allows all of these textures to kind of intermingle.
For some acidity we have a bergamot cream and then lightness expressed in
this pistachio sponge. For a crunchy element: crushed strawberry sablée. Our
basil ice cream — I really love that herbal flavor with all of these bright
citrus flavors. Adding a chewy texture of some candied orange peel and the
hallmark of a vacherin: dried meringue. So here we have our dried meringue in
little little button form. Little ground pistachio, utilize that nice wide rim and
to echo the ice cream, a few leaves of fresh basil. The way the elements are
combined and the choice of the bowl itself easily led to getting a little
bit of these different textures in each and every bite. There’s endless opportunity for
creativity and expression depending on the design elements, the techniques and
the plates that we employ.