Lemongrass Ginger Chicken with Rice Palou & Ginger-infused Carrots

Plating Assignment: 3 of 4 This flavorful go-to meal consisted of pan-fried chicken medallions with a light ghee sauce that included minced ginger and lemongrass, a baked rice that included coconut milk, green onions and cilantro, as well as infused carrots that had been simmered in lemongrass and ginger. The meal came together quickly and with little fuss. While the rice was baking in the oven and the carrots simmering away, I was able to turn my attention to the cooking of the protein. If it doesn't smell right, it rarely is.

Savory Butternut Squash Soup

Plating Assignment: 2 of 4 This savory butternut squash soup consisted of a laundry list of ingredients including butternut squash, bitter kale, and salty bacon. In addition, I added sage and Eastern spices. In the process of making the soup, I used the following techniques: sweating of mirepoix, reducing of wine, skimming of impurities, simmering of soup, blanching of kale, pureeing of soup, sautéing of sage. Cooking the soup was really a matter of cooking ingredients (sometimes separate, sometimes together), layering flavors, and tasting as I went. I also relied on my nose to help me as I went. If it doesn't smell right, it rarely is.

Beef Tenderloin with Creamy Polenta & Fresh Greens

Plating Assignment: 1 of 4 This meal was exactly what I needed today. Warm, creamy polenta is perfect on a cold, rainy day especially when paired with a tender cut of beef. I simmered the polenta for a little over a half hour at which point, I turned my attention to the protein. After searing the tenderloin, while allowing it to rest, I deglazed the pan with some stock and shallots. Once reduced, I added a knob of butter and set aside.

More Than Just a Pretty Face

Did you realize that there is not only an art to plating, but a science as well? I suppose it is really a bit of both--a marrying of the two. Your food needs to look good and where you place each component allows for a natural flow for the eye to follow. In Unit 24: Plating the finer details of how to present your food is discussed and demonstrated. It starts with the anatomy of a plate and plate design and ends with ideas and suggestions on how to set up your workstation in order to efficiently plate, sauce, garnish, and inspect a finished plate before serving.