When guests are served a salad at Whitestone, they are impressed with the presentation of the vegetables. It’s appealing to see all the natural colors of the vegetables but a unique presentation is the icing on the cake. Chef Wells was happy to give us a few tips on decorative cutting during his off-duty time at the inn.
About the Tennessee Chef
Jonathan Wells studied the culinary arts at Walter State Community College. Chef Wells has been working at Whitestone Country Inn for over five years. He not only enjoys executing a fine dining experience for guests but also likes to share his culinary knowledge with people that are curious about cooking.
Garde Manger – Decorative Cutting
Let’s introduce a new term for you to use. Garde Manger is a term that is used in various ways.
- The cooking station that prepares smaller plates such as salads where minimal experience is needed to run the station.
- The well ventilated area where cold dishes are prepared. This is the area where one would execute the cutting of fruits and vegetables.
- For our purposes we are going to use Gard Manger as a term that describes the process by which you cut fruits or vegetables to create a decorative piece for your dish.
Want to impress your friends? After you watch the tutorial below, tell your friends that you are planning on creating salads this evening using garde manger.
Using a Zester for Vegetable Carving
The video below will show you two different cuts that can be made using a zester tool. This type of zester can be bought at Wal-mart for about $15. The various grooves and holes on the tool make it possible for you to make etchings in the vegetable. In fact once you try these simple cuts in the video the only thing that will hinder your vegetable carving is your imagination.
Upon quick observation you see that this tool has small openings in the upper end of the zester and one larger hole in the center.
The first cut demonstrated in the video is one that is simply made by dragging the upper portion of the zester long ways across the skin of a vegetable.
Both cuts are simple and quick to perform to any vegetable. The real magic occurs when you slice the vegetable and have nice and interesting markings along the outside of the slice.