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Chapter 9 non edible displays

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Food Production, Culinary practice and food preparation …

Food Production, Culinary practice and food preparation

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  • 1. CHAPTER 9: NON-EDIBLE DISPLAYS Although food holds the spotlight in all buffet presentation and the objective of buffet planning must be to achieve visual beauty both in the artistic presentation of each item of edible food and in the arrangement of the many dishes on the buffet table. Nothing heightens the beauty of the buffet more than an out-standing center piece (piece monte) made of ice, tallow or other such materials. The term non edible is used to indicate that the center piece is not meant for consumption along with the rest of the food on the buffet. The guest should be able to identify the theme of the buffet at a glance, just by observing the non-edible decorations that provide eye-catching background for the presentation. A non-edible decorative display piece should be a work of art, always in good taste, whether the figure is made of ice, sugar, tallow or any other material. The list of possibilities could be divided into: Artistic Displays Food Displays Artistic Displays: 1. Ice Carvings 2. Tallow Displays 3. Butter/Margarine Sculptures 4. Salt Carvings or sculptures (Saltillage) 5. Sugar Craft (Pastillage)/Wedding Cake 6. Chocolate Mouldings 7. Fruit and Vegetable Carvings Food Displays: These could include 1
  • 2. 1. Bread Displays 2. Cheese and Wine displays (for a French Buffet) 3. Seafood Displays (for a Seafood Display) 4. Pasta Displays (for an Italian theme) 5. Spice Displays (for an Indian Buffet) 6. Fruit and Vegetable arrangements 7. Suckling pig/ Roast Turkeys/Hams (sometimes with Chaud Froid) 8. Aspic cut outs ICE CARVINGS The ice sculpture is the highlight of any buffet, the artistic touch, the focal point. Ice can be carved in any shape, size or figure that fits the theme or occasion. For example, for Christmas there could be a Santa Claus, for an anniversary, a heart. The essentials for ice carving are. 1. A 100 –300 pound block of ice, 40 inches high by 20 inches wide by 10 inches thick. Blocks like this can be purchased. 2. A pair of ice tongs for moving ends handling the ice. 3. An ice shaver with three to six prongs, used to curve out the details and do the small cutting on the block of ice. 4. An ice pick, used to split the block into smaller pieces. 5. A hand saw, used to remove large cuts of ice or to make rough outlines. 6. Chisels ranging in size from ½ to 2 inches. 7. An electric chain saw, when working with this type of saw, it is important to have the saw grounded to prevent accidents. 8. A good pair of gloves which have metal finger tips to prevent accidents 9. A template, made on graph paper, of the shape of the ice carving that is to be made 10. Salt. 2
  • 3. The best temperature for ice carving is 28° F or less. An ice block will melt at the rate of ½ to 1 inch per hour at room temperature. Such ice carving must have a base that is at least six inches high. In other words, when planning this carving, deduct 6 inches from the total height for the base. Be sure to draw the template accurately. If a piece of ice breaks off, dip each broken edge into salt and press pieces back together for a few minutes, the length of time will depend on the size and weight of the broken pieces with the sale added the broken pieces will freeze together and hold. How to Display the Ice Carving on a buffet 1. The table used for the carving must be sturdy and strong enough to support the weight of the ice. 2. The carved ice block should be placed in a specially constructed metal pan, wider that the base of the carving wooden blocks should first be placed in the bottom of the pan and the carving should rest securely on top of the block. 3. Colored rotating lights and newly designed display units can produce a dramatic effect; this is especially effective when the lights themselves cannot be seen. 4. Colored ice can also produce a dramatic effect 5. The ice sculpture could be placed on a rotating turn table 6. The pan under the ice sculpture can be decorated with a linen cloth, flowers, ferns, or other decorative material. TALLOW WORK When deciding on the selection of a pattern for a tallow display piece, it is essential that the display piece chosen match the theme of the food design buffet. It is even more desirable, to select a pattern that may also fit into 3
  • 4. the décor theme of other buffets at a later date. Creating on eye-catching tallow piece is always time-consuming and should be planned well in advance. A French restaurant serving a French buffet would add effectiveness to the presentation by displaying a bust of Napoleon or Escoffier or the Eiffel Tower. Such displays can be used over and over, but they should be covered with transparent wrap when not in use as dust tends to stick to them. To be successful in the execution of a tallow display, it is essential that certain rules be followed. The person making the tallow display should have a photograph or model of the piece o be made. In general, a formula made up in the following proportions work well in tallow displays: 1/3 beeswax 1/3 paraffin 1/3 beef fat The quantity of fat can be increased if a more pliable and workable mixture is needed, especially if the working area is cool, that is, below 65° F. A solid structure and base for the tallow piece must be created, especially if the finished piece has to be transported. A wooden base with dowels and a rough structure made of Styrofoam, metal armature, and aluminum foils have been used. BUTTER AND MARGERINE CARVINGS Very often in place of tallow, butter and margarine is used to produce center pieces. Margarine is the preferred medium as it has a higher melting point and is easier to handle than butter. An outline of the sculpture is made out of suitable stiff material such as a wire piece, aluminum foil, and strips of wood. This is called the armature and the butter or margarine is molded around it to give the desired shape. Ideally, the work should be carried out in a cool environment such as an air- conditioned room. The advantage here is 4
  • 5. that the sculpture can be re done if it does not have the desired effect and re started. Also tallow, butter and margarine sculptures can have a re usable value unlike ice carvings. However, care should be taken to in storing these pieces as they tend to attract dirt and dust which will cling and be difficult to remove without damaging the structure. Very often a protective cling film can be wrapped around the sculptures during storage. 5
  • 6. SALTILLAGE. Basic Salt Dough for Sculptures 1 cup cold water 1 cup corn starch 2 cups warm popcorn salt. Combine the water and cornstarch. Mix well over medium heat, stirring constantly, to a very thick paste. Knead 2 cups of salt into hot cornstarch mixture (for best results use a mixing machine). For brown colour, add some Soya sauce to the water. To make brown point, brown cornstarch to various shades of light and dark brown and mix with water and some gin. When sculpture is finished, use a brush to paint it with the cornstarch mixture. To create successful sculptures 1. For large salt-dough sculptures, a good solid metal armature is needed to support the weight of the sculpture. 2. Cover the armature with aluminum foil to create desired shape. 3. Cover aluminum foil with thin sheets of salt dough. Dry. Repeat and dry again. 4. Finish details on the third layer of salt dough. Dry and paint with brown cornstarch color or dust with herbs and spices. WILLY SPRY’S SALTILLAGE Yield: 5 1b Ingredients Cornstarch 3 lb Salt (table) 1 lb Plain powdered gelatin 6 oz 6
  • 7. Boiling water 1 ¼ pt Colourings: turmeric, paprika, vegetable or confectioner’s colour spices, dried herbs poppy or caraway seeds, finely chopped nuts. METHOD Dissolve the gelatin in boiling water; make sure it is well dissolved. Use extra heat if necessary, but do not boil. Strain the liquid through cheesecloth or filter paper and let cool. Place cornstarch and salt in mixing bowl and stir in liquid gelatin a little at a time until you get a smooth paste. When you notice that the saltillage clears the sides of the mixing bowl, it is ready. Add desired colorings. Roll into clear plastic and store in an airtight container. Saltillage has the same appearance and texture as pastillage. It dries quickly and for some reason tends to crack easily. Do not make large pieces out of this paste unless you have a base; a Styrofoam sculpture that you may wish to cover will do. Any small animals or birds, flowers, mushrooms umbrellas, wheel-barrows, Chef’s hats or other decorations that you already have made out of marzipan or pastillage can also be made of saltillage. The rest is left to the imagination. FRUIT AND VEGETABLE CARVINGS Very attractive center pieces can be made by carving various shapes out of fruits and vegetables. Large pumpkins, melons and such vegetables can be used as containers or carved into objects such as boats and ships. The variety in color of vegetables and fruits adds a lot to the eye appeal and the presentation of the center piece. Care should be taken not to use non food items such as pins, staples, toothpicks, drawing pins to hold the arrangement in place. Water can be sprayed so that the arrangement looks as fresh as possible. 7
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  • 9. SUGAR CRAFT (Pastillage) This could include: 1. Pulled sugar 2. Poured Sugar 3. Blown Sugar 4. Spun Sugar Cooked sugar can be used in various forms to provide stunning works of art. They could adorn a dessert buffet. CHOCOLATE MOULDINGS Tempered chocolate can be used to make figures which can be attractively arranged to be used as center pieces during festive times like Christmas and Easter. They are also used to adorn the dessert buffet. VERNON COELHO ihm mumbai 2008-09 9
  • 10. SUGAR CRAFT (Pastillage) This could include: 1. Pulled sugar 2. Poured Sugar 3. Blown Sugar 4. Spun Sugar Cooked sugar can be used in various forms to provide stunning works of art. They could adorn a dessert buffet. CHOCOLATE MOULDINGS Tempered chocolate can be used to make figures which can be attractively arranged to be used as center pieces during festive times like Christmas and Easter. They are also used to adorn the dessert buffet. VERNON COELHO ihm mumbai 2008-09 9