Thursday, October 17, 2013

Chaud froid: For your eyes only...

The design is limited only by the cook's imagination................
Chaud froid is a showcase for patience and ingenuity. Designed to visually enhance an elaborately-laid buffet table, it is more eye-candy than appetizer.

The process involves cooking a piece of meat (our students use chicken), then chilling and covering it with a smooth coat of bechamel sauce.

...........eyesight, and manual dexterity.
The kitchen grows unusually quiet when students focus all
of their attention on developing their micro palates. 

The sauce-coated meat is cooled again to set the bechamel, and to hold the chicken at a safe temperature while the intricate surface design work is prepared.

The French term chaud-froid refers to heating and cooling the food as each step of the process is undertaken.

When the bits of vegetable mosaic are ready, the meat is once again pulled from the cooler, and the design laid on to the white background.

A clear aspic glaze is prepared and cooled to just the right temperature: warm enough that it flow easily over the whole piece of chicken, covering it with a smooth and transparent coat, but cool enough that it does not melt the bechamel undercoat.

Once these creations have been cooled again, they are ready for the buffet table. If they have been handled carefully, and with food safety in mind, they are edible works of art. With emphasis on their visual aesthetics, though, their ornamental value far outweighs their gustatory appeal.

 The white bechamel that coats the chicken is
like  gesso on a painter's canvas. 
Paper-thin slices are shaved from sweet pepper and other veggies for
the chaud froid design.

A clear aspic glaze (foreground) is applied
over the  design to finish these  buffet showpieces. 

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