Grand Junction Wedding Show 2008, Food Platings
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This year I was in charge of the food plates display for the wedding show. Since the engineering part really messes with the arts part this is always a challenge. Among professional food platers I come in last, unless someone dies, then I come in second last cause the dead guy did not get to the judges table! I try but can not see what others see, I have made improvements, but darn I have to work at it hard. But, Zane insists I do it, "the only way to get better at it is to keep doing it." is his constant encouragement. You would think after 11 years he would understand that I can taste food, I can turn anything
into edible food. But jeeze don't have me put it on the plate!

The plating is only the last step of the job. The figuring out what to make and how to present it. That is most of the job. Of course we need to make money, so I am pushed to do recipe development that can scale up or down, that can make money for us and that can be made with the catering requirement of cook, load, haul, unload, plate and serve. Which changes what a catering recipe is compared to a professional in the restaurant would do.

And so I take you on a tour of the Bicycle Built for Two platings.

[Image: bicycle.jpg]

First up something I love every year cause it presents so well and looks good in a bowl I purchased on clearance at Nordstrom's several years ago. Mary Lou stores and takes care of my presentation plates. But I purchase them
myself. One of the things I like about presentation food is having things no one else has to put the food onto for display. I present the Shrimp Alfredo!
[Image: shrimpalfredo.jpg]

Next up something stolen from Chef Jon in Vermont. He was doing this Vanilla Vodka Blueberry Shrimp Cocktail. Which I stole and did last year at the event. This year I had been working on it for the entire year to turn it into a tappa type dish. Ended up with Vanilla Vodka steamed shrimp, with Blueberry Maple Syrup polenta disks and a sweet root vegetable terrine. These would all be sauced in a normal setting, however sauce dries out over the 6 hours of the wedding show. So I don't sauce the plates.
[Image: blueberryshrmp.jpg]

This next plate really should have been on a straight white plate. But after working since Friday afternoon, then all day Saturday 'til midnight, then back in to cook my foods at 3 AM so they would be ready for transport and service I just goofed it up. But I get a lot of mileage out of boneless chops. This is a mango grilled boneless chop with braised purple cabbage and red quinoa, I infuse the quinoa with beet juice and white pepper.
[Image: loverchop.jpg]

This next plate is my pork loin en croute plate. Another spectacular offering for weddings. We can make money on these, they transport well and present nicely. You will notice a yellow wedge looking vegetable offering. This is a southwest custard stuffed acorn squash. Chef Janis put me onto this half a year ago. And I just keep loving it more and more. Transports well, holds for 2 hours easily. Cuts nice on site and just tastes fantastic.
[Image: porkloin.jpg]
This is what the acorn squash looks like out of the oven after I pull the skin off of it. I use the skin as the ramekin and water bath them like a brûlée. Then I cool and peel, flash roast the outside with a torch. Slice in wedges.
[Image: acrnsqu.jpg]

I put together the normal shrimp cocktail. The color on this type of plating is just assume!
[Image: shrimpcckt.jpg]

I did a scallop plate with the black rice for Paella plate. The scallops are a Palm Sugar reduction I did years ago on my home smoker. The rice under it is a vegetable couscous. The clam juice steamed black long grain then encircles the scallop. This comes with a side of Slaw!
[Image: scallop.jpg]

I did quite a few terrines this year. Been using them with the shape cutters. They are easy to make and present well. And they can transport for hours and be hot and ready when service hour comes. This root vegetable terrine is red beets, white sweet potatoes, butter nut squash and carrots. All roasted first, then made into the terrine. This terrine is jelled with a nutmeg infused aspic.
[Image: rootvgterne.jpg]

[Image: rootslice.jpg]
While I have more plates to write about, dial up users will already find this download difficult so I will end with one of my presentation tables. After I plate it, it is transported in the back of the suburban to Mary Lou's waiting hands on site. She places everything on the various presentation tables. Mary Lou is one of our secret weapons in the competition to get the high end weddings. No one can match the things she does with displays! And she can chef too!
[Image: platingtable.jpg]

'til we talk again, try plating up your dinners for a change. Lots of fun and you can not do any worse than I do!

Chef Bob Ballantyne
The Cowboy and The Rose Catering
Grand Junction, Colorado, USA
Chef de Cuisine
The Cowboy and The Rose Catering

USMC Sgt 1979-1985
  Re: Grand Junction Wedding Show 2008, Food Platings by bbally (This year I was in c...)
Looks wonderful Chef...I still envy your creativity and plating...the combo of flavours on the vodka, shrimp, blueberry and maple kinda plays in my mind in an odd way...
"Ponder well on this point: the pleasant hours of our life are all connected, by a more or less tangible link, with some memory of the table."-Charles Pierre Monselet, French author(1825-1888)

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