Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Chef’s Canvas

A succession of rectangular plates is arranged on the counter in the kitchen of the Foster Harris House, like a gleaming mosaic of perfect white tiles.

Chef John MacPherson steps back and silently considers the potential of the pristine, blank canvas for just a moment. Then - quickly and precisely - he sets to work.

I have been given a backstage pass. Welcomed beyond the kitchen door of the Foster Harris House, I sit at the work island – with a steaming cup of coffee in hand – watching Chef John MacPherson in action. Few guests get this behind-the-scenes glimpse. It’s like entering the artist’s studio. This is where glorious breakfasts begin.

Chef John applies technique, artistry and imagination, and I watch – riveted – as a dazzling tableau takes shape. Every step is deliberate. Colors, textures, aromas, flavors and dimension all work in concert to shape the total creation. Flaky puff pastry elevates the dish. A curl of hickory-smoked bacon catches the eye. A brilliant fresh salsa of red tomato and green avocado is scented with tart lime juice and cilantro. Luminescent poached eggs are meticulously trimmed. Deep red pepper, finely-diced is scattered across the plate, with a flourish of chipotle cream.

The finished entrée is indeed a masterpiece. One’s first inclination is simply to gaze, and take in the spectacle, but then, the appetite is inspired.

Art is to be admired and appreciated, but is food ever too beautiful to eat? At the Foster Harris House – never!

I visited the food and wine country of Virginia July 23 – 27, 2009.

©2009 T.W. Barritt All Rights Reserved

9 comments:

Julia said...

That does look beautiful! I think this is what impresses me most about professional chefs -- how they can pull a dish all together into such gorgeous presentations. More impressive -- when each component adds to the dish (as opposed just looking good)

lydiatheperfectpantry said...

What ever happened to coffee and toast for breakfast?! Seriously, every bit of this meal sounds divine. How lucky you were to get inside the kitchen to watch it being created. Next time, you just might be put to work!

veron said...

Oh, I had this at the Foster Harris house and is one of my favorite. That hickory smoked bacon is phenomenal!

Mad Me-Shell said...

That 'curl' of bacon might be one of the most glorious things I've ever seen! YUM!

doggybloggy said...

what a great time this was for you! wow!

A Feast for the Eyes said...

What art! The best I can do is put a piece of parsley on a plate and I think I've done something special! LOL

How fun to get a behind-the-scenes peek at a true chef in action.

Kathy said...

Looks and sounds delicious. No wonder you have such a great time there!

pigpigscorner said...

The final product is so pretty!

Stacey Snacks said...

what gorgeous food, and it is a breakfast? wow.
Lucky TW that you got to sit in the kitchen and observe!