An analysis of Creative thinking!!!!!!
INNOVATION AND SPONTANEITY
Use of unusual ingredients such as black garlic garlic, smoked anchovies, purple and white carrots
Reinvent classic flavour combinations. Example....use black garlic and smoked anchovies in a Caesar dressing to reinvent this classic flavour profile.
Innovation through use of new technologies
Food Dehydration to create new texture possibilities
Dehydrated jellies that have a texture similar to leather but with intense flavour.
Dehydrated vegetables such as peas or broad beans with an intense nutty/ grassy flavour that can be used as a garnish. Finely diced peppers used as a seasoning to give an extra flavour dimension to a dish and a new texture possibility.
Innovation through use of new technologies
Water Baths......Slow cooking over longer periods of time in water baths and vacuum bags for flavour retention!!!!! Also a reduction (or even zero shrinkage when cooking meats using this method)!!!!!!
Analysis of previously used flavour profiles and reworking of them into new combinations using modern techniques, ingredients and processes
SPONTANEITY.....I firmly believe that the approach that should be taken towards great food and cuisine is that it should be ingredient based. Instead of writing a menu and then buying ingredients according to the menu and a set recipe, the opposite approach would lead to a far more creative way of doing things. Buy the ingredients and then seriously think about how they are going to be composed into a finished dish.
Be inspired. Inspiration can be gleaned from a wide rang of sources.....i.e.....books, restaurant reviews, television programmes. In the case of the latter, on of my own personal inspirations is the BBC TV series MASTERCHEF. The contestants on that show are complete amateurs with no formal professional culinary training, and yet they are producing some of the most creative and innovative food imaginable. To my mind this is the kind of thing that should be inspiring restaurant menus. AS Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Inc would say, “People don't know what they they until you give it to them.
A source of inspiration can be a label on a wine bottle. For example, the wine is described as having a marriage of delicate lemon flavours with hint of peach and melon. Further inspiration comes from the Pierre Gagnaire book REFLECTIONS OF A CULINARY ARTIST!!! In this book, the legendary French chef makes reference to combining roasted cantaloupe melon with baby carrots and turnips,halved grapes and a dice of raw foie gras.
OK, so now we have a list of ingredients, which is as follows;
Lemon...cut in quarters and remove any pith from the centre. Also remove the pips.
Peaches.....make a small cross in the bottom, blanch in boiling water for ten seconds. Peel of the skin cut in half and remove the stone.
The next stage in the process of creativity is to think about how each of these elements are going to be used. Each ingredient should be looked at in it's own context and thought given to how they are going to be cooked and what additional flavour enhancements are to be applied in terms seasoning's and spicing.
Starting with the Lemon and peaches. I would consider placing these in a vacuum bag along with some pink pepper corns, parsley, shallots, roughly chopped celery and around 50grams of salted butter. The bag would then be sealed on the maximum setting and cooked en sous vide at 68 centigrade for three hours. Once cooked, open the bag and pour the contents into a liquidiser. Blend to a smooth sauce and pass through a fine mesh strainer. This is the sauce to go with our finished dish.
For the roast melon. Peel the melon and trim into planks of about 4 x 2 x 1 inches. Heat a little butter and oil in a pan and add the melon. Cook until caramelized all over and de-glaze the pan with soy sauce and rice vinegar and a little molasses sugar. Reduce until the liquid has evaporated and the melon is well basted with the resulting caramel.
For the turnips. Make a salt crust with 200grams plain flour, 100gram salted butter, 50grams smoked Maldon sea salt. Bind to a dough with eggs. Roll out the pastry and wrap individual turnips in the pastry. Bake in oven pre – heated to 180 centigrade for forty minutes. Remove the cooked turnips from the pastry and slice to around a quarter inch thick on a meat slicer and using a round ¼ inch pastry cutter, cut small discs of turnip and sauté in a little oil and butter until golden brown.
In a large frying pan heat some oil and butter and add 3 chopped shallots, 2 cloves crushed garlic and 5 cardamom pods. Cook for two minutes and then add 250 grams baby carrots. Cook for a further two minutes and then add 75 grams of carrot juice. Bring to the boil and then lower the heat and cook the carrots until tender.
To serve: Use a palette knife and make a smear of the peach/lemon sauce across the plate. On top of the sauce place a melon plank and then on top of this place some of the carrots. Drape a fillet of pan fried black bream across the top of the melon/ vegetables and finish with some discs of turnips. Garnish with some micro celery, pea shoots and purple shisho
Menu description of dish!!!!!
Black Bream, Water Melon, Turnip, Carrot, Peach, Lemon (simplified description as inspired by the style used at Alinea. By just using a list of the main components of the dish, this creates an air of mystery and anticipation for the diner and you are left wondering hoe everything will come together in the completed dish on the plate. )!!!
Crisp Skinned fillet of black bream, Turnips baked in a crust of smoked Maldon sea salt, Soy and Molasses glazed water melon,pot roast carrots flavoured with cardamom and garlic on a peach and lemon sauce scented with pink pepper corns. ( A somewhat more lengthy menu description but one that is more poetic in its' description. But hopefully making the dish more tempting to the dinner in its' description of flavour combinations)!!!!!!