Part 6 of a 7 part Symrise Series
Chefs + Trends: Quick Profiles of What's Cooking
Janice Wong, 2am dessert bar, Singapore, author of Perfection Imperfection
Philosophy: “Ingredients aren’t defined as savory or sweet. It’s what you pair with them that makes the difference. It’s all about the marriage of flavor and not predefining them into a specific flavor category.”
Ingredients Inspired By: Miso, yuzo, quince, citrus (she made a miso and yuzu ice cream because she liked the sweet, salty and sour combinations)
Trend She's Trying: Wong creates food as art on the plate, that changes as each person experiences (or tastes) the piece. “Creativity means taking things you don’t know and making them into new things.”
Current Obsession: Wong used Symrise flavorings of blueberry, strawberry and tutti-frutti in the food art on showcase at this year's annual International Chefs Congress (ICC).
Dani Garcia, Manzanilla, NYC, author of Cooking Contradictions
Philosophy: Using textures. “Technique should always be used in service of taste.”
Ingredients Inspired By: Extra virgin olive oil and tomato
Trend He's Trying: Garcia made the vegetable as center of the plate as he plated a lobster salad, olive oil popcorn and nitro gazpacho tomato. The dish features lots of flavors “but the lobster is secondary to the olive oil popcorn and tomato.”
Current Obsession: "Camarones" (baby shrimp) for their strong flavor and barnacles because you get a “crazy flavor of the sea.”
Francois Payard, FP Pâtisserie, NYC
Philosophy: “In pastry, it’s always about improving tips and technique to make it better. It’s also about the texture.”
Trend He's Trying: Payard likes to mix savory and sweet. While preparing the puffed rice, milk chocolate, and crispy chocolate phyllo to the stylish chocolate rice crispy treat he demonstrated at ICC, he added salt to caramel. “You’re seeing more and more salt in pastry,” he says. "Adding salt to caramel enhances the flavor."
Trend He Sees: A return to simplicity. “More and more we are trying to come back to the basics because it’s all about the flavor. It’s better to be simple and taste good, rather than be all flash and not taste good.”
Current Obsession: Caramel. “Caramel is a real flavor. It’s a lot like chocolate or coffee. If it’s not cooked, it just tastes like water and sugar. When it’s cooked perfectly, it becomes the flavor.”
Dominique Crenn and Juan Contreras, Atelier Crenn, San Francisco
Philosophy: Showcasing the produce and ingredients produced from local farms in northern California. "Some of our dishes on our menu have been inspired by conversations with farmers."
Ingredients Inspired By: The grapes of the region. Contreras created a dessert featuring several local grape varieties, served in half of a glass wine bottle.
Trend They Are Trying: "Vegetable as king of the dish;" in Crenn's carrot jerky, the root vegetable is the main focus of the dish.
Current Obsession: Bees. Contreras has been perfecting a dessert featuring the design and flavor of honeycomb.
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