I've recently discovered that plating and presentation make a lot of difference.
Your food can taste delicious, be the best (insert dish here) in the world...but if it doesn't look appetizing, you're gonna need some time convincing people.
On the other hand, you can fall on the other extreme. The food can be borderline but because it's presented so elegantly, people are attracted to try.
If I had to choose one, I'd rather pick the first. At least, once people know, they'll keep coming back and telling their friends. The latter will just end in disappointment. But why stop at option one? Work on both. With taste and image hand in hand, your customer with leave satisfied and amazed with the experience.
The reality is, it's not easy to have both. First things first, you need to be inspired. This creates the drive that will push you through your comfort zone. Second and more importantly, it takes practice and practice and practice. But you know what they say. Practice makes perfect :) Don't give up just yet. And last but not least, start from something small and work your way up. You need to walk first before you run.
Cream of Pumpkin Soup
with sweet garlic, thyme croutons and drizzle of paprika oil
adapted from Guy Savoy: Simple French Recipes for the Home Cook
1 head garlic
1 cup milk
1 small pumpkin (about 680g)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1-2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
- Peel garlic cloves and place in a small saucepan along with the milk.
- Bring just to a boil, then remove from heat and drain, discarding the milk.
- Peel pumpkin, discard fiber and seeds, and cut the flesh into 1-cm cubes.
- Warm the butter in a large pot and add the pumpkin cubes and blanched garlic cloves.
- Season with salt and cook over high heat, stirring often and crushing the flesh of the pumpkin as it becomes soft.
- Add the chicken stock, lower the heat to medium low and simmer for about 40 minutes or until the pumpkin is very tender.
- Add the milk and cream and cook for 6-7 minutes.
- Puree the mixture in a food processor until smooth.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour into the serving bowl and add your garnish.
3 slices of stale white bread (freeze it individually to ease cutting)
salt and pepper
Method: Cut the bread slices into 1-cm cubes. Heat oil in a frying pan. Add the bread cubes and coat well. Season with salt, pepper and thyme. Stir until dry and crispy. Alternatively, you can bake the bread cubes until crispy.
Heat some flavorless oil (like canola or grape-seed oil) in a frying pan. Add paprika powder and stir into the oil until it turns red.