Posted 05 March 2003 - 02:51 PM
The Wall Street Journal last Thursday.
Progression within a dish is a tool for chefs to do a variety of creative approaches. In some cases, such as the lamb dish you sited, we echo the flavors of Thai cuisine but show them presented in differnt textures. The complexity that is produced is fun. When we can show the same flavors in 3 different states: liquid, natural, and powder it makes eating the dish fun.
In other cases we can deconstruct a dish into it's basic flavor components and reassemble the dish on the plate. Since the dish is pulled apart into distinct flavors we encourage the diner to eat it in a certain order to attain the best result.
We are currently running a dish based on beautiful white asparagus from the Loire. The asparagus itself is starkly presented on the left of a long plate running north and south to the diner. It is divided into five sections, but kept in it's linear shape. To the right are 5 compositions that are meant to compliment the asparagus. The diner starts closest to them and works their way up the plate, sampling the asparagus with the flavor to the right. The compositions range from light to heavy and from simple to complex. They are as follows: saffron scented asparagus stems with flowers and chervil, wild mushrooms with meyer lemon and walnut, Valencay goat cheese with tupelo honey, tosaka seaweed with pickled oyster and hijiki mayonaise and after we have taken you on a bit of a journey in relation to asparagus your 5th bite brings you right back to where you started before you took the first bite of the dish. At least for most people. The tip of the asparagus with hollandaise, presented in a spoon.
I hope this illustrates how sequencing can be a highly creative tool for the chef.