The last 5 to 10 years have seen the gradual but total unpicking of all the remaining stiches of what fine dining used to be. But the pieces weren’t discarded; rather, they were re-shuffled and re-built into new and stunning forms.
What’s out? The traditional construction of a meal seemed like cycling up and over the Col de Tourmalet followed by a rapid descent on the other side: Appetizer – Entre – Main – Cheese – Dessert Light – Savoury – Powerful – Sweet Small size – Medium size – Big size – Small size Vegetables – Fish – Meat – Sauce – Carbohydrate – Dairy Chefs competing on the one playing field with classic dishes Champagne – Aromatic White – Oaky White – Big Red – Bigger Red – Sweet Wine What’s in? Emotion, magic and surprise. A meal is built more like a winding footpath through forest, field, cliff face and valley, where every turn hides a new emotion, aroma, flavour or discovery. Multiple dishes (often share plates) arrive one after the other in a sometimes unexpected order, all are typically equally portioned, all are balanced and poised in their own right, none are replicas of a classic, they are all inventions and expressions. Wines are no longer the only drink option, with sake, beer, juices, teas and infusions having a loud voice with food matching. And when the wines come, they are often not expected, with light chilled reds opening the score, and major flourishes of aromatic oxidative whites, tannic orange wines, then dry fresh bubbles to finish!
by Charlie Simpson