The Pretty Crispy Things…Garnish it!

Today, a little something for the cooks and chefs. I’ve covered many aspects of the sweet and savory categories, from plate design, composition, flavor profile, etc. What separates a four diamond restaurant experience from a casual dining experience? You could say not much or actually quit a lot. It’s actually about garnish, you know the pretty things that POP! Let’s investigate what separates the curd from the whey.


I believe this one is obvious, as I have lamented the virtues over and over about local, seasonal, organic and sustainable many times. If you would like a review, check these out. and


It goes without saying that qualified cooks and chefs with a solid foundation in classical preparation are essential. It’s not enough to have an understanding of garnish, “pretty things”, so much as understanding why and when to use them. Everything on a plate has a purpose, and works with the other elements of the plate.


By “pretty things”, I’m talking about the finishing touches on a plate, garnish. The things that make a plate POP! In the above examples we have a parmesan crisp, a coral tuile, and a tulip cookie. two are savory, the other for pastry or plated desserts. Other examples would be fried herbs or vegetable chips. But the list goes on, here are some more ideas;

  • infused oils; not crisp, but still a finishing touch
  • potato crisps, gaufrettes, frites, etc
  • dehydrated vegetable powders, mushroom, beet, herbs….
  • pate choux (cream puff dough); this can be made savory or sweet and is very versatile
  • sugar work; even basic sugar work can be effective
  • chocolate work; as above


Finishing a plate is what removes the wheat from the chaff, don’t you love my The thing to remember is why you are adding something at the end. Is it functional, edible and textural…and flavorful. All of the techniques discussed can be found on this site with a membership, the how to’s can also be found on my culinary education portal (included with membership). Tomorrow is the last day for the June 1/2 price promotion, details at Cheers, and have a great day!