Creating A Menu

Creating A Menu
Initial Considerations
Menu Accuracy
Writing Rules
Catering or Special Menu
Ala Carte Menu
Pre Fixe Menu
cherry_intermetzo.jpg (34836 bytes)

A sour cherry with citrus intermezzo can cleanse the palate as effectively as a sorbet

Concentrate on Theme
- Theme, in this case, means both flavor and aesthetics. Understand the main flavors of sweet, salty, sour, and bitter and how they can playoff each other, both on the plate and throughout each course.

Build Flavor - Be careful not to start the menu with too robust of flavors, but rather graduate from subtle to more robust flavors through each course. The chef must be a com- poser, building each movement on the previous one until the crescendo.

Avoid Repetition
- Instead; use a diverse group of ingredients that will flow within the boundaries of your theme.

Examine Your Plate Presentation
- Make sure there is a variation of looks and feelings from plate to plate. Remember that they still must remain within the flow of the overall theme. Make sure that your portion sizes are reasonable. In international competition, 17 to 21 ounces of solid food for a gastronomic meal are considered comfortable. This means that with presentation of a four-course meal, the portions on each plate would be larger than those for an eight-course meal.

Vary Cooking Methods - Try not to repeat cooking methods within the same meal or back-to-back courses. For example, you would not serve a pot-au-feu after a soup, or a smoked appetizer and a smoked entree on the same menu.

Vary the Textures - When evaluating the overall menu, make sure that a variety of textures are avail- able within each course, between the courses, and in the overall meal.

Be Mindful of the Sequence of Ingredients - Appetizers are meant to be palate stimulators. Heavy, oily, or creamy ingredients may coat the palate, inhibiting the flavors of the following courses. A good example would be including cheese on the first course that would tend to cover the palate. If you must serve such items, make sure they are in very small amounts.

Employ Flavor Logic - Make sure each course and flavor complements the next.

Mix Hot and Cold Temperatures--A variance of hot and cold items on the menu can be very exciting and also facilitate kitchen organization since hot and cold courses originate from different areas of the kitchen.

Plan a Grand Finish -The dessert should conclude the meal on a high note and be an integral part of the overall meal. If heavier desserts with chocolate or rich creams are requested, balance them with acidic sauces like berry or citrus to clean up the flavors for the finish.

Remembering these points and combining careful planning with basic common sense with flavors, cooking methods, and texture will ensure a perfect menu composition. Keep the portion size comfortable, cook within the talents of your staff, and execute simplicity to perfection and you will achieve a successful symphony of presentation and flavors.

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