Bocuse d'Or winner describes the tinkering and tasting that went into training | Chefs use inventive tools, ingredients to create art on the plate | Gateau Basque is a fruit pie that works in every season
After the theme of this year's Bocuse d'Or showpiece was announced, head chef Mathew Peters and his team spent two months preparing by practicing the competition dish as many as 80 times in order to perfect every detail. The team's work paid off, and their rendition of chicken and crayfish led Team USA to win the prestigious competition for the first time.
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Creative presentation can make food even more appealing to diners, and chefs are using elements such as microgreens, edible flowers and artistic flourishes of sauce to present intriguing plates. At Wolf's Ridge Brewing in Columbus, Ohio, chef and CIA alum Seth Lassak uses a turntable to create perfect circles of sauce on the plate.
Gateau Basque is a traditional Basque country pie that uses cherry preserves instead of fresh fruit, which means it can be made any time of year. Preserves or jam can stand in for fresh fruit in just about any pie as long as it is double-crusted -- the preserves will dry out too much if the top is open.
Cuban and Caribbean flavors and ingredients such as goat, plantains and jerk chicken are showing up on more US menus as diner demand grows for island-inspired cuisine. Mentions of Caribbean flavors on menus grew about 15% over the past five years, according to research from Technomic, which found that Caribbean cuisine is especially popular with millennials.
Citrus, bitters and other ingredients are important additions to alcohol-free cocktails, which should be different than a simple mixed juice, said Julie Reiner of New York's Clover Club. "A lot of the times when I'm making alcohol-free drinks for people who like to drink, I try to use something with a bitter note, because it kind of tricks the mind into thinking there's alcohol in it," said Reiner, who recommends using tea in mocktails.
Wolfgang Puck will shake up his global empire for three days in June as his Beverly Hills-based restaurant Spago takes over the kitchen at his only London property, CUT 45 Park Lane. Puck would eventually like to open a Spago location in London, "but we haven't found the right space," he said.
Lynhall, a new culinary project set to launch in Minneapolis this summer, will combine a cafe and an incubator for food startups in an 11,500-square-foot space. Local chefs will create the menu for the cafe, and the project will also include a kitchen TV studio.
Springfield Slaughter House in Louisiana is helping combat the problem of wild boar, which cause significant damage to local crops, by butchering the feral hogs and selling the meat to restaurants. Local chefs are using the lean meat to create prosciutto, chorizo, meatballs and more.