By Orlando Soto-Caceres
Desserts—plated desserts, especially—are the final impression a chef leaves with his guests. This high-stakes pressure means that the greatest pastry chefs take particular care with their creations, reviving guests' tastebuds with a balanced composition of flavor, texture and presentation. Before any dessert can do that, though, its components must come together in a pleasing and synergistic way. This, not surprisingly, rings true for the ICE pastry students in Kitchen 501!
In a recent lesson with Chef-Instructors Chad Pagano and Michael Laiskonis, we learned the importance of having both complementary and contrasting elements in a dessert. These elements include a range of flavors, colors, temperatures and textures. In order for this to work, the chef has to focus on what he wants the finished product to convey, creating its components accordingly. Should the dessert be crispy or crunchy? What flavor of textural element will enhance the overall experience?