Food Presentation – Complementing our Pacific Northwest Tradition
Plated dinners at banquets have traditionally been served using the three-point presentation; dividing the plate into three separate sections with meat as the focal point. Some modern chefs have designed other methods of food presentation that look more like artwork the something to eat. Finding the balance between presenting our guests with a comfortable dining experience while adding that twist of elegance in the presentation; is one of the goals of our Sunriver Resort banquet staff.
The first priority is always the taste. Cooking technique is critical, because the most artful display in the world won’t matter if the first bite is disappointing. Some techniques change the color of the food’s exterior such as grilling, roasting, and smoking. Some cooking methods allow the guests to be able to see the seasonings used on the food, i.e., specks of seasonings and herbs or the shine of oil from a dressing or the contrasting color of a sauce. Secondly the aroma is very important, especially with hot plated dinners. An enticing aroma gets the digestive juices flowing and excites the tongue. The third element ties it together and that’s the presentation. Color, texture, shapes, and arrangements all work together in the art of food presentation.
Here at Sunriver Resort, our objective of balancing these elements has a nutritional basis as well; providing a healthy variety of mostly local product that includes a full range of nourishment, especially when presenting vegetarian and vegan cuisine. Our banquet staff, under Chef Lucio’s direction, continues to develop a food presentation style that complements our Pacific Northwest home and sensibilities.
Here are two items that have been really creating some excitement in the kitchen. Continuing to not only change the boring mindset of banquets but also pushing the elements of vegan/ vegetarian foods while breaking into modern plating styles.
The first is a “fresh Water eel, Crisped Shiitake mushrooms “ with a sweet eel sauce, Chive oil, Himalayan pink salt, Crisp taro root chips , A black bean relish, and jasmine rice.
The second is a “seared scallop dish and seared turnips “ with a black bean and roasted sweet corn ragout, Jicama Slaw, with a puree of fresh tomatoes and roasted Chili’s.
These are two good examples of how we are taking the style and expectation of a restaurant and moving into the banquet setting.
The new twist on these entrees, however is that the “stars” of the dish are not the proteins but the vegetables and the techniques that they are prepared. Although both are a complete meal, starch, vegetable, protein; the proteins are over-shadowed. Chef Lucio believes the placement of food and how it’s done is key to a successful plated dinner. “ I like to think that you eat more so with your eyes than your mouth. Especially when you can look at food and see the passion and creativeness shining through the food.”