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FOOD presentation

FOOD + DRINK FOOD presentation

Some plating inspirations from Couture Cuisine & Event Artistry

Couture Cuisine & Event Artistry :: a Toronto caterer

Whenever you are entertaining, food presentation makes all the difference. That is why usually we hire caterers and chefs at home.

You may think that you do have the time or the skills to reproduce this level of excellence at home. You are probably right but you can get inspired by their work of art.

I will use Couture Cuisine & Event Artistry’s realizations as a starting point to share some of my tricks. This Toronto catering company likes to achieve fashion forward event design as stylish, individual and as memorable as you are. It sounds a little bit like my own philosophy of entertaining.

To save money, you can buy your canapés & hors d’oeuvres from a high-end caterer shop but do the plating yourself. Here are some catering trends that I think look fantastic.

Sesame seeds as a backdrop

One definite trend is the use of seeds like black sesame seeds to create a bed on which you will layout the hors d’oeuvres.

A nicely placed egg shell can look divine as you can see. My guess will be to use hot glue to make the large part stands on the broken egg top.

Remember this great presentation idea for serving your next brunch. Use this presentation with the Soft Boiled Egg with Watercress Crème Fraiche, Foie Gras Croutons, and American Caviar recipe inspired by Chef Patrick Connolly. Patrick is the chef at Radius, a restaurant widely recognized as Boston’s best restaurant. The recipe adapted by should be a hit amongst your guests.

Mix and match materials for unique presentation

Extend your serving ware collection by using boards and tiles made of granite, marble, slate, ceramic and glass. Wood trays and trunks easily bring heights to a buffet table.

Go to the fabric store to buy some tulle to be the backdrop of a romantic dessert table. I suggest this look for a bridal shower, a wedding, a baptism celebration or a wedding anniversary.

New way to serve crudités

Instead of the traditional vegetable crudités served in a bowl, find a large rectangular Plexiglas or clear glass box that is 8 to 10 inches high. Create a 4 to 6 inches layer with the black sesame seeds.

Stick the fresh vegetables into the seeds in elegant square grouping to create small gardens. Plan one vegetable type per grouping. If you have enough space, place two or three dips in square communal bowls inside the box.

Smoked salmon in a shooter glass

Smoked salmon with chives and a hint of cream cheese is a classical cocktail dish. Spice up the presentation by layering it in a shooter glass. Then layout the shooter glasses in a low sided glass bucket filled of ice cubes. You can design a donut with the shooter glasses and place a cold bottle of vodka at the center.

Staff uniform

If you hire serving staff, inquire in advance what the staff will be wearing. You want them well dressed. If it not up to your standards, tell it to your caterer. You can always rent their uniforms to go with the style of your event. I like the look of the pinstriped waistcoat with the grey and white tie. So chic!

About Couture Cuisine & Event Artistry

Uber-Chef Arpi Magyar comes to Couture cuisine & event artistry with over 35 years of experience in the kitchen. As the executive chef of Pronto, Oliver’s, Auberge du Pommier and later chef owner of Splendido and Cucina, Chef Magyar needs no introduction to foodies.

Couture cuisine & event artistry does corporate events, weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs plus other social events. They devised seasonal menus.

Learn more: Web site of Couture cuisine & event artistry
Recipe: Soft Boiled Egg with Watercress Crème Fraiche, Foie Gras Croutons and American Caviar recipe by Boston Chef Patrick Connolly of Radius restaurant published on

FOOD + DRINK FOOD presentation

How to serve water in style at an afternoon barbecue party

Tap water falvored with fruits and ice lolly by Nienke VordingThis story is a nice follow up to the Jello shots. It is about liquid and fruits.

Serving individual water bottles in a cooler is handy but it is not very good for the environment. There is a growing trend in US chic restaurants and city halls to ban water bottles.

Become a trendsetter by serving tap water in pitchers at your summer parties. The key is to do it in style. You can upscale the look of the most basic glass pitcher just by inserting beautiful fresh fruits and herbs in the water.

You see here how the vibrant red, yellow and green increase the water appeal. The idea is to add color and a light flavor to the tap water.

How to decorate and spice up tap water?

Berries, apple slices, pear slices, citrus and herbs are the obvious choices. Spices, like anis, add a nice touch. Think about your menu or the event theme to decide what to put in.

Grapes look great but they are mostly a decorative touch. You may pierce them to release some of their flavor. You can get inspired by sangria. Even vegetables can work. Take cucumber and celery for example, they will add a fresh taste.

You can use individual frozen fruits if you do not have firm fresh ones on hand. Europe’s Best is a brand that freezes berries in whole and other fruits in large pieces. Another technique is to add small pieces of fruits or chopped herbs when you are making ice cubes.

You can put mint, lemon thyme, basil or lavender herb in your water. Whole branches look the best.

Water popsicles

I also read about this Dutch designer, Nienke Vording who is experimenting with how to revitalize water in our own home. This is a tiny bit esoteric. From Nienke Vording’s Web site, we can read that

Through research it became clear that if polluted substances just mechanistically are filtered out of the water, still prints of them are present and the molecule – and crystal structures are not yet reestablished. Water that floats freely and makes contact with minerals will be able to regain its vitality and its crystal structure.

So Nienke Vording designed a few devices for home consumption. One is the Ice Lolly pop natural laser crystal stick. Whether or not this is true, the fact remains that its Ice Lolly pops are stunning.

For a hot summer day event, why not make water flavored popsicles instead of the juice ones. You will get a lot less calories and an even more refreshing taste.

My plea against disposable glasses

Excuse me about the disposable glasses and the sugar low bags. I took the picture in a food court. I take this opportunity to encourage you to limit your consumption of disposable glasses as much as possible.

If you have too many guests, think about renting or borrowing glasses from your neighbors and friends.

The green movement only reinforces my dislike of disposable glasses. They are far from stylish but more importantly, if your outdoor party is in a windy place, they make more spilling damages than good. I have seen it happened too many times at barbecue parties.

And how many of you really recycle them when you have a party at home? I am a tree hugger that likes to consume but who tries to do it responsibly whenever I can.

If you just start with the fruit-flavored tap water pitcher, you will put smiles on many faces.

Learn more: Web site of Europe’s Best
Link: Ice Lolly by Dutch designer Nienke Vording
Via: Designing Water for Consumption published on Core77 Design blog
Photo credit: Taken by Kim Vallee in a MBCo bakery

FOOD + DRINK FOOD presentation

The art of dishing a dessert tray

la grande finale: art of dishing dessert

Miniature dishes always look more sophisticated. They have a certain je ne sais quoi that makes them more appealing.

By nicely organizing your individual dessert servings on a tray or a plate you get more impact.

For easy at home entertaining, you do not need to bake everything. Your best local pastry can provide a few things. Just cut them into small pieces.

I suggest you make your own tiny crème brûlée; it is too hard to do. Here individual butter dishes were used instead of the usual ramekins.

Pannacotta served in shooter glasses garnished with a piece of peach is another great presentation trick.  Just put some attention to details to replicate this look.

Primadonna ristorante and sushi bar

This dessert plate, la grande finale, is from one of my favorite restaurants in Montreal, Primadonna on Saint-Laurent Street. This is a popular place during the Formula1 week-end. Make sure to reserve in advance, you can do it online.

I am sorry about the photo quality of the dessert plate but I took a quick shot with my Motorola Razor phone.

Link: Web site of primadonna ristorante & sushi bar in Montreal

FOOD + DRINK FOOD presentation

How to dish up a sandwich

Daily bread by Pryor & Williams

Sandwiches are the most basic comfort food. It takes little effort to dress them up. Out of ordinary sandwiches start with an artisan, a specialty or organic bread on which you lay down the freshness ingredients you can find. You can add all the flavors you want. A sandwich is still a common deli food unless you play around with innovative ways to serve it.

Chop chop tray by Vessel

Exotic wood tray gives some grandeur to that simple food. They make something ordinary extraordinary by adding this je ne sais quoi (I do not know) touch.

I got two beautiful models that are great presentation pieces. The first one is called Daily Bread. Pryor & Williams translates in a Nordic inspiration into a plantation-grown teak surface and a Corian cutting surface with storage underneath. Daily Bread gives rise to an authentic gift for many occasions. A section can hold the utensils and the four serving boards are stored side up. Practical and beautiful!

The other wood tray is from a company named Vessel. The Chop chop tray is two detachable rectangular bamboo trays placed over a metal support. The Chop chop tray is a cutting board, two serving dishes plus two lunch surfaces all in one. The price of the Chop chop tray is 80 dollars at Vessel online store.

STRATUM Nest tables by Pryor & Williams

Anytime you serve sandwiches on a tray, eating at a dinner table is optional. To build on the laid-back approach, you can set up the food as a buffet on a couple of side tables or nested tables.

For the collectors, Pryor & Williams produced the limited edition STRATUM Nest tables. These one of a kind nested tables are all signed. Only 30 sets were fabricated. If these tables do not dress up your sandwiches, I do not know what will.

Link: Daily bread in plantation-teak by Pryor & Williams
Link: chop chop tray in bamboo by Vessel
Via: Arch Digest Show 2007: Pryor and Williams & ART:asap on Apartment Therapy NYC blog

FOOD + DRINK FOOD presentation

Verrines are more than the latest trend in gourmet cuisine

As I was reading today’s edition of the food section on the Los Angeles Times, I was seduced by the verrines. I was familiar with verrines but I did not know the name of that technique until this morning.

First of all, let me explain what a verrine is. This is simply a dessert or an appetizer that is made of layers in a small and long clear glass. When you want to host a sumptuous, in style cocktail party, ordering lots of verrines is a sure move to impress your guests.

This is a recipe as well as a method to serving it. You must be able to distinguish with your eyes and on your mouth every layer. Verrine is more complex technique that it appears.

Verrine has all the flair of the French culture; it is stylish, structured and full of flavor.

As a French speaking person, I easily grab where the name comes from. The French word for glass is verre. Verrines are hot in the restaurants and with the amateur cooks all over France.

While waiting for your next trip to France, you can take a look at these masterpieces available on the LA times. Or you can visit Restaurant Guy Savoy in Las Vegas to have a taste. Guy Savoy is a Michelin three-star chef.

Link: Layered luxury in a glass as published on LA Times

FOOD + DRINK FOOD presentation

La Tartine Gourmande does it again

That girl never stops to impress me with her recipes. Her blog is a must read about cooking.

In today’s post, Béa shares a wonderful recipe for your next cocktail. You will stand out from the crowd if you serve her Beet Mousse and Radish Mise-en-Bouche at your next party dinner.

The fuchsia pink color adds a festive touch. And it matches my MOTORAZR V3 phone. But the recipe is not girly at all. It is made with Watermelon Radish, which she described to have a mild to sweet peppery flavor.

For your information, mise-en-bouche refers to the idea of preparing your mouth for what is coming; it is a starter that introduces the rest the meal.

Béa is also good on presentation. I agree with her that serving her recipe in long shooter glasses creates a striking effect. Happy entertaining!

Link: The answer to What is a Mise-en-bouche? on La Tartine Gourmande
Via: Pink in a Watermelon Radish- Du rose dans un radis pastèque