Back when I was in college, I saw advertisements for a new show called Top Chef. Even though I was an avid Food Network watcher, I did not think I would become such a big fan. "How is this show going to be popular, you can't even taste the food," I remember myself saying.
Well a few years later, I am an addict and thanks to my roommate's birthday, I got to try some of the food too. Her boyfriend made reservations for the coveted Table 21, restaurant of one of the runner's up last season. Eight private seats, 21 little courses, an amazing night.
Some of the highlights were twists on simplest things: fresh beets with a goat cheese mousse and beet macaroon sticks on top of a balsamic glaze. [top picture] There were also interesting combinations that worked surprisingly well: chilled corn soup with blue crabbed and topped with frozen coconut and caviar. Some that didn't work perfectly in my opinion: liquid nitrogen frozen gazpacho; it was like dip'n dots. And some were classic dishes done really well: goat cheese cheesecake with berries. [bottom picture]
Thanks to Top Chef, I think of things like plating and flavor profiles.I have learned cooking tips (ie: when you think it needs salt, add acid instead). And I've also gotten a little more adventurous. At the dinner, I tried sweetbreads for the first time--who thought the throat would taste like a chicken nugget. [middle picture]
I don't think I will be whipping out liquid nitrogen or foam cannisters in my kitchen, but I feel inspired to try out some new recipes.