Last week, in the middle of everything else going on with the start of catering season, I managed to have a free afternoon to catch a chef demonstration at my alma mater, the International Culinary Center. This one was led by Chef Antoine Schaefer of FERRANDI, a culinary training school in Paris upon which the original French Culinary Institute (now known as the International Culinary Center) was modeled. He is also the original chef-instructor at FCI and helped to design the program with the school’s founder Dorothy Cann Hamilton.
Arriving several minutes after the demo had started, I slipped into my seat in the auditorium. I’d thought that this would be the usual show of a few signature dishes being recreated and plated, with samples for us to munch on during the talk. What I experienced instead was another view as to why great chefs are just that. The food was colorful and delicious with the plating taking the experience to another level, as the photos below show. It was the kind of talk that I find inspiring and one that makes me want to strive to do better in my own work.
Glasses filled with colored liquid support glass plates. Various microgreens act as a “garden” around the display.
Vegetables cut out as “Air and Sea” served with beet spheres, foie gras in cucumber pyramids, carrot purée with shrimp, and a savory tuile with a chive-goat cheese cream.
Tuna cooked two ways – as a tartare and seared – garnished with microgreens and plated in random formation with sliced, blanched vegetables laid out à la a Mondrian painting.
Mango and passionfruit purée with raspberry coulis served with raspberry cream-filled choux pastry covered with a matcha paste topped with raspberry gelée alongside of a miso caramel sauce and dusted with matcha powder.