Tuesday, June 26, 2007

a birthday degustation: introduction

We recently embarked on a culinary journey that will take us the next two weeks to describe... a chef's degustation menu and wine taste in celebration of the birthday of a good friend and client.

"What is a degustation menu?" you might be asking. Well, we're glad you did! Degustation is a term meaning, "a careful, appreciative tasting of various foods." Thought to have originated in France in the 1900s, the concept highlights tiny portions of a chef's signature creations, presented in succession. Oftentimes, a tasting of accompanying wines or spirits is presented. Generally, these types of meals contain a minimum of eight courses, with the maximum limited only by the guests' stomachs!

For our degustation, our executive chef (actually, that's me!) planned eleven courses, with ten accompanying wines. The menu was based upon fresh, seasonal ingredients, with locally grown and produced fruits and vegetable showcased when possible. The wines selected were chosen from vineyards around the world, to carefully complement the cuisine.

The table was set in white, with white tableware, linens, and candles. Fresh vividly colored gerbera created a sophisticated, yet playful, contrast to the blank white canvas against which we chose to present our cuisine.

Printed placecards (which stylistically matched the invitations that had been previously sent), skeleton leaves from the rubber tree, and miniature Japanese bamboo rakes for a zen garden completed the tablesetting.

Orange "pin cushions" and various natural elements combine to form a soothing ikebana inspired arrangement, lending a calming ambiance to the event.

Menus printed on marbled vellum were provided to the guests, so they could keep track of the multiple courses, and the progress of the flight of foods. Of course, the courses were also explained by our chef (again, that's me!) during the course of the meal...

To get a better view of the menu, simply click on it!
Over the next few weeks, each course presented during the chef's degustation, starting with amuses bouche, and ending with mignardises, will be showcased on our blog. We encourage you to check back, enjoy the pictures, and read through the culinary journey of an orenji degustation and wine tasting!

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