Menu 4 - Paper 3

Menu, Journal of Food and Hospitality Research
Volume 4, 2015, Pages 16-21

Plating in gastronomic restaurants: A qualitative exploration of chefs’ perception

Bernard AUROUZE 1
Catherine GUASTAVINO 2

1. Centre d’études en gastronomie de l’Institut du Tourisme et de l’Hôtellerie du Québec, 3535 St Denis, Montréal, QC H2X 3P1
2. Multimodal Interaction Laboratory, McGill University, School of Information Studies, 3661 Peel street, Montreal, QC, H3A 1X1


Abstract: The study investigates the extent to which the quality of dishes served in upscale restaurants can be perceived through the appearance of the different ingredients on the plate. More specifically, this study aims at identifying visual parameters of the plate that contribute to the perceived quality of haute cuisine from the perspective of experienced chefs.
Five chefs, with decades of experience in gastronomy, participated in individual semi-structured interviews during a 4-hour tasting meal in an upscale restaurant in Montreal. The free-format responses were analyzed using content analysis followed by linguistic discourse analysis on emerging themes.
The results highlight that although plating is an important factor contributing to the gastronomic experience, the quality of a dish cannot be reduced to its visual appearance. Chefs visually analyze dishes along three lines: the combination of flavors, the quality of the raw products and the culinary techniques used. Further lexical analysis will highlight the best practices for plating in the context of haute cuisine.

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