Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it – Michelangelo
I can vividly recall one occasion in the kitchen when I was asked to do a fruit plate. In the build-up to service, with a shouting head chef, hovering waiters and so much else going on around me, I could only stare blankly at the pineapple in my hand without knowing what to do with it.
Everything in nature holds in its form sacred geometry. Those are the shapes and patterns and structures that are found throughout the Universe and our ancient civilisations chose to study them. It inspired the earliest of our great architecture. For a structure that works in nature could be replicated without us having to think too much about making it work.
To be a good culinary artist is to hold a deep respect for the geometry of your ingredients. After all, there are infinite ways in which to present your food. The question I should have asked myself that day was “what does that pineapple want to be”?
The legendary artist Michelangelo is known to have sculpted David from a single, giant block of marble, chiselling away at it intensely over a two-year period until the masterpiece emerged. That is the process that has to take place when you contemplate and design your food. Your mind might be buzzing with thoughts around sourcing, flavour pairings, costings, plating, serving. But somewhere in your mind you hold a space for the form that wants to emerge.
And that’s how you present your food, chef.