I came to class feeling unprepared, not having spent much time reading up on plate presentation or looking at books or google images. I’ve been out of town on business and just plain busy. I told myself that I would just be inspired by the ingredients and do my best to be creative, something I always stuggle with when it comes to plating food. Chef Waier had prepared three types of plate presentations for us to view. The naturalist, architecture,and minimalist. The Naturalist

The naturalist brings to mind Alice Waters-style while the architectural style is what you might call “tall food” (see photo). The minimalist can best be described as the “deconstruction” method of plating. Architecture Minimalist

Final exam practice: Disaster! I had trouble cutting the potato, onion, and carrot in the 5 minute timeline. (Small dice the onion, julienne the potato, and brunoise the carrot). We had to make an omelet in 45 seconds–mine looked like a scrambled egg. By the way, we can only use the pan–no utensils). Even my blonde roux was not quite thick enough. We then had to produce mayonnaise and hollandaise sauce in 15 minutes. Making mayonnaise requires whisking egg yolks and lemon juice, and slowing adding oil–slowly is one drop at a time. I went to fast and it didn’t emulsify the first time but I corrected it and it was fine. My hollandaise sauce, however, broke because I added too much butter too soon. We are going to be tested on all these things at the final in 2 weeks! Yikes, I had to get on the ball and practice.
For plate presentation we had to prepare three dishes and were given the recipes to use as a guideline–but we could make some changes as long as we used the ingredients that would identify the dish. The first dish was a club sandwich. We had several types of bread, turkey, tomatoes, lettuce, our homemade mayo, avocados (too hard to use) and bacon. I had the idea to make “club sandwich sushi” which was taking a piece of white bread, rolling it out a bit, brushing it with sambal flavored mayo, adding a slice of turkey, lettuce leaves, thin tomato slices, and a piece of bacon in the center. I took extra care to make all the fillings very thin so it would roll and it did. I sliced it into 4 pieces and held it together with a toothpick. It actually looked very cool and tasted good.

My second assignment was to make a cobb salad using typical ingredients–lettuce, tomato, turkey, cheese, vinaigrette, avocado, bacon, and boiled egg. Again, we could change it up as long as we used the basic ingredients. I decided to make a cobb tostada salad and deep fried a corn tortilla. I layered shredded lettuce, julienne tomatoes, cheese, and boiled egg on top. I made a sugar and chile bacon.
My vinaigrette was a chipotle vinaigrette with a nice kick to it. This also turned out well, looked nice and tasted good. The bacon is out of this world. Try it:

Thick cut bacon (1/2 lb)
1/2 cut brown sugar
1 tsp chili powder
dash cayenne
Mix sugar and spices. Spread on bacon, front and back until well coated.
Place bacon slices on a baking rack and bake at 375 degrees, watching it so it doesn’t burn.

Last assignment was to make Steak Dijonaise. Boring….how to make a piece of steak look good on the plate? The steak is basically a thinly pounded sirloin with Dijon mustard and diced onions pressed into it. I cut some thin potatoes in a rectangular shape, fried them and then layered the same size slices of steak and potatoes in a fanned pattern. I made a mixed field green salad with Dijon vinaigrette as a side.
This was OK but not that great looking, however it sure tasted good.