I adore Top Chef. I have no idea what fois gras is or why anyone would want to eat a meal of molecular gastronomy, but regardless, I think the show offers some very helpful tips for any creative genre. (Beside, where else can one hear such phrases as “exhibit balance” and “show restraint”?) Here are this season’s lessons:
- You may deconstruct a traditional dish (and get kudos for doing so), but make sure all the components go together. The dish needs to “make sense.”
- Show restraint, but not so much restraint that you bore people.
- Never, never do something that confuses the dish.
- The flavor should be rich without being overpowering.
- Don’t let the star be lost in the dish—the lesser actors must not compete with the primary attraction.
- Don’t over-season your food, but God forbid, never, NEVER under-season. Err on the side of too much, rather than too little.
- Your confidence must come through in the dish. If you can’t execute it properly, come up with something else that you can execute properly.
- On the other hand, in a group of individuals with boring dishes, your originality will win you points, and just might keep you safe for another week. In other words, best to keep coming up with new ideas.