Be Ready For Service!

Mise en place redux

Monthly Archives: March 2012

Food Foreplay… The Nose Knows!

You are doing a house party.

A real nice big house — great clients.

The doorbell rings…

Guests enter and say, “OMG…. It smells like you have been cooking all day — I can’t wait to eat…. what are we having?”

The host replies “Well actually, I hired this wonderful caterer and they have been doing all the work this time!”

Often we hear that, “We eat with our eyes first, then the nose.”  Sometimes it is the nose first!

Cooking aromas welcome, excite the guests, and pique their interest in the food to be served!

My favorite aroma is is rustic, earthy warmth of roasted Rosemary.

Filling a house with aromatics of Rosemary can do wonders to help set the mood, therefore preparing guests for what’s coming. The host feels confident, the guests marvel — the caterer looks spot on!

Behind The Magic Table — Kicking It Up Another Notch!

Often in off-premise catering, food is prepped and cooked at the kitchen and hauled to the event site in various special transport boxes “aka” the Cambro, reheated or placed in the oven and or chafing dishes for heat up. Which is fine. It’s only at the last minute — the guests smell the great food. Food foreplay ought to be longer than five minutes!

Sometimes there is tray passing of hot Hors d’oeuvre

Which also alerts the guests of what is to come.

Hot Air That Smells Good!

Before you leave for the event — Gather a generous handful of fresh Rosemary (6-8  12″ branch lengths) from the kitchen, a ½ sheet pan, a sheet of baking (parchment) paper.

About 30-45 minutes prior to the guest arrival — place the paper on the sheet pan, strip the Rosemary leaves off the stems, crushing and  scattering the Rosemary stems and leaves around the pan.

Cover the leaves with water — soaking for a few minutes. Place the sheet pan in the oven at 375°.

Every so often open the oven door and let the aromatic pleasantries of the steaming-roasting Rosemary escape, filling the kitchen and house.

Roasted Fresh Rosemary

When all the water has evaporated — the Rosemary starts to brown and offers us a woody forest aroma. Pull the pan from the oven, let it cool down and then discard the paper and Rosemary.

When entertaining in the back yard and there is a BBQ grill to use — toss wet Rosemary on the warm grill and open the hood every so often to let the wondrous aroma fill the yard. It’s always a big hit and gets the guest talking about the food.

Just as I was finishing this post I came across a youtube video from Chef Grant Achatz at Alinea dealing with idea creation with sense.

Hold on to your aprons,

Roy Porter