Culinary Sense

Adventures with Food and Life

Art of Cuisine: Final Project Part I

Dear Friends:

Welcome to the final project portion of this class. This class has been so awesome, and I’ve learned so much already. I have renewed motivation to refine my dishes, be precise, and practice excellence.

One part of the final project is making a chaud froid  on the platter on which we are going to display our final charcuterie project. A chaud froid is a design made out of gelatin. It can be poured over food and then solidify as it cools, or, it can also be poured onto a flat platter. You can use different colors, either by coloring the gelatin with food coloring, or you can also use “natural” food colorings from red beets, spinach/parsley, and so on. You can also pour one layer, let it cool, then lay down flat things like herb leaves, and pour another clear layer over it.

Here are some examples from my class.

This chaud froid was made by one of my classmates. There is an opaque layer of gelatin on the bottom. Then, he cut very thin rings of leeks and red onions and made a design. Then at the end, there is a clear layer on top.

Here is my work bench. You can see the mixed colors, also some parsley leaves. I blanched some yellow beets and cut out various designs, like hearts and a clover.

This was a test run, so I included a bit of everything on my plate.

You can see that it’s not perfect, and the colors are a little strange. But overall, I learned a lot about the medium. It was SO MUCH FUN, kind of like art class. I loved this day in class. It made me feel really creative.

Another REALLY creative example from my class is this plate:

This student put some herbs upright, in addition to laying down some other elements like blanched leek and lemon zest.

Now, for the final project, the goal is to create a chaud froid on the platter that will hold our charcuterie creations. I want to do a Scottish theme, so I decide on creating a tartan design. I looked up some designs online, and they are pretty complicated. I made up my own design, and on the day before the final project, started working on my project.

I changed the colors slightly from my idea. I definitely wanted green, but then I wanted a contrast color, too.

After about three hours of mixing, pouring, cooling, and cutting patterns, I apply the last clear coating. Unfortunately, I was too eager, and it’s too warm – the red stripes start melting away and mix into the clear gelatin. I am so disappointed at this point. I am ready to give up, throw it away. I have been working on this all morning, and I am so tired, my feet hurt, and I just want to go home.

So, after a short deliberation, I know that I’m going to start over. I can’t give up now. This design is so awesome, and I just can’t stand looking at the blurry red lines. I want to do the best job I can, and I always want to strive for excellence. So I throw it away, and I start over.

So far, so good. The colors aren’t quite like the original, but still okay.

It’s done! It took me another two and a half hours, but it was totally worth it, because this design will blow everyone’s socks off!!!

Next post: part two of the final project.

~ Carolynn


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