Saturday, January 12, 2019

Accessible Fine Dining Guest Post

THINKING IN MEALS, NOT IN DISHES (an excerpt from Accessible Fine Dining by Noam Kostucki)

When I was a kid, I remember my dad taking me to restaurants where he knew the chef. The waiter would bring us the menu, and my dad would tell him we didn’t need it. He would ask the waiter to tell the chef that we have this amount of money or that, and to serve us the best for that amount. At first, I was shocked: “but I didn’t even see what’s on the menu? How do I know I will like it? I want to choose my dinner!”. Then, the waiter brought us the tiniest plate of food I had ever seen. There was no way I was going to be full from that dinner. Four hours and thirteen plates later, I was full and amazed. I had tasted so many different things that I was in heaven. Not every single dish was the best, but there was at least one dish I still remember almost 20 years later. It was a Chinese-style spoon filled with roasted duck. The chef asked us to hold the spoon in our hand and walked around sprinkling something on top before allowing us to eat it The barbeque roasted duck sparkled and exploded in our mouths. It was unbelievable. Later that night, he revealed his trick to me, and I was blown away. That’s how I discovered the concept of discovery menus: let the chef give you the best dishes that they can cook. Let them decide what different types of dishes they want to bring you, and it will become a full evening, very much like going to the theatre or opera.

As a result, one of the things I dislike most about going to restaurants is having to choose what I’m going to eat. It feels like a burden. I want to be satisfied and happy, but I don’t want to always eat the same thing. Do I go for a dish I know I will like or do I try something that seems strange and interesting? Most of all, how do I know which dish the chef prepares best? When you go to a restaurant and eat one dish, there is a lot of pressure for that one dish to be amazing. If it’s not, all you have is one plate that you don’t like. By serving people a lot of small dishes, you grab people’s attention, and you keep them awake. The best part is that different guests will have different preferences. That’s why one of my favorite part of dinner is when I ask at the end what is everyone’s single favorite dish. It’s fascinating to see the different opinions people have, and by serving a lot of dishes, you give people something to choose from. If they remember just a single dish from the entire dinner, in my eyes, you have succeeded not only as a chef, but as an artist.

Book Details:
Book Title: Accessible Fine Dining - The Art of Creating Exciting Food in Your Everyday Kitchen by Noam Kostucki, with Chef Quentin Villers
Category: Adult Non-fiction , 128 pages
Genre: Creative Cookbook / Fine Dining
Publisher: Amazon
Release date: Dec 10, 2018
Tour dates: Jan 7 to 31, 2019
Content Rating: G

Book Description:

Six months after opening my first restaurant, one of my dishes was selected as "25 dishes to travel around the world", featuring me next to culinary legend Heston Blumenthal.

Exciting and healthy food doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Over the years, I have seen some of the most exciting dishes come from the simplest kitchens and the most modest ingredients. The purpose of this book is to focus our attention away from the distractions of fancy kitchen equipment and luxury produce and instead focus our attention towards ingenuity in the kitchen and culinary innovation.

For some strange reason, cooking is taught in books as a series of mechanical steps to follow and repeat with precision. I see cooking as a creative art like painting or playing music: it is the freedom of expression that is most interesting to me. When we create from an artistic perspective, we give birth to something new and potentially magical.

The purpose of this book is not to teach you specific recipes, because the ingredients you will find in your local organic food market will likely not be the same as the ones we see here. Nor is the purpose to show you how to imitate us. The purpose of this book is to guide you into thinking about your dishes in a way that elevates them to a fine dining level, from ingredients which are easily accessible to you. Naturally, you will find a few recipes, but most importantly you will find a new way to look at food.

We will share how we think about food shopping, searching for unusual ingredients, the combinations of flavors, techniques, textures, nutritional value, and of course, plating. The purpose of this book is to guide you to become a more exciting, creative and adventurous version of yourself in the kitchen. What separates a craft from an art form is the story behind it; cooking is a craft, while fine dining is an art form.

If you want to create fine dining dishes, start to focus your attention on the different stories a dish can tell. Some stories can be told through your cooking, and others are told through words. Taking the time to present your dishes before people eat is crucial to creating anticipation for the food they will eat.

Buy the Book:

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Meet the Authors:

Noam Kostucki


I was an awkward child, so I changed school 5 times. I spent most of my life trying to please others, and be the kind of person I believed everyone else wanted me to be. I wasn't happy and I struggled to get what I want. Everything changed when I started changing.

I spent the last 12 years creating the life I dream of. I've had the privilege to be homeless twice, and to speak at Harvard about entrepreneurship. I have grown to be myself more fearlessly than ever before. I am now surrounded by people I love, and who love me.

I traveled over 40 countries, and I've helped over 25,000 people create magic. For example Patryk Wezowski who raised $500,000 in 8 weeks and Esther Perel who gave the 30th most viewed TED talk. Some less public successes include a blind eyed student who experienced his blind eye for the first time and a journalist who left an abusive relationship.

As a university drop out, I was surprised when my first book (personal branding) became required reading at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, as well as receiving the UK Business Speaker of the Year runner up award, and a honorary degree in Business from Hofstra University. As an artist, I was honored to exhibit my photography at the European Union's Innovation Conference.

My most recent venture is HiR Fine Dining, a jungle culinary adventure. I create a discovery menu of 7 plates per person for groups of up to 12 people. HiR Fine Dining became #1 fine dining on TripAdvisor in Tamarindo within the first month. Within 6 months one of my plates was selected out of 40,000 restaurants by OpenTable as one of "25 dishes to travel around the world for". I was invited to speak at Chateau 1525, Costa Rica's most reputable cooking school and our guest chefs include a blind chef who traveled all the way the United Kingdom.

Quentin Villers

Quentin has been cooking in restaurant since the age of 18. He helped his brother build a restaurant for which they received a Michelin Star. Quentin moved to Costa Rica to consult for hotels and restaurants. He managed 3 of the 4 restaurants at Hotel Nayara in La Fortuna, for which he lead a team of over 20 people to be selected to enter Relais & Chateaux, a prestigious network of unique luxury hotels with exquisite cuisine. Quentin is a regular guest chef at HiR Fine Dining and consults for a number of fine dining restaurants in Costa Rica.

Connect with the Authors: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Instagram

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Ends Feb 7, 2019


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