Ian's Challenge - May's Dessert

This month’s dessert was a real challenge for me. Not only in the way I would have to interpret the photographic elements and visual associations in the dreamscape, but also to break away from my traditional plating notions to create a free form presentation inspired by current modernist cuisine arrangements. The dessert would appear more whimsical, and the placement of elements would add a dream-like sequence while eating it, mixing flavors and textures to create familiar and unfamiliar flavor combinations.

I usually begin by choosing a seasonal fruit or ingredient to inspire me. Then I’ll add other elements to compliment the key flavor. Realizing this method would not work to accomplish my goals in creating this dessert, I would have to modify my normal approach in the process as well.

By making a slight change in the first step of my process, I was able to rethink and rearrange the layout of the elements of the dessert. Instead of beginning by using one flavor, I began by choosing a pallet of flavors. This simple variation allowed me to treat each element as a major component of the dish. I associated it to listening to a concerto, where all the musical instruments and their individual sounds make up the piece, rather than listening to a solo instrument accompanied by others.

In addition, this simple change freed me to compose a dish that was much more dreamlike in it’s unpredictability. Because of the autonomous structure of the dessert the flavors would ebb and flow in a recurrent experience throughout the consumption of the dish. And, like in a dream, the different textures and flavors would reinforce and disaffirm a familiarity with them. Hopefully allowing the diner to experience familiar flavors and textures in an unfamiliar way.

The piece is composed of Peach Gelee, Vanilla Ice Cream, Lemon Marshmallows, Lemon Gel, Pliable Chocolate Ganache, Raspberry Coulis, Vanilla Cake Crumbs, and garnished with Lemon Thyme leaves and Geranium petals.

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