While working last month in Paris, a client treated one of my bosses and me to a dinner for two at La Table de Joël Robuchon. The world-renowned chef has a formal and a casual dining restaurant in the City of Lights. Our reservation was at the casual restaurant, which in reality isn’t so casual. Let’s face it, there’s nothing casual about a 27 Euro ($36 USD) bowl of gazpacho.How was La Table de Joël Robuchon? Definitely worthy of this great chef’s reputation.
What did we have? The seven-course tasting menu for 150 Euros each ($202 USD). This was a great decision; it gave us a wide sampling of his various cooking skills and also exposed us to his thoughtful food presentations, which were specifically designed for each course.
OK folks, here is where you need to pay attention: The most important thing was the entire menu flowed. His culinary team really understands the big picture of texture combinations, taste and variety in presentation, not only as individual courses, but also as an entire menu. Most chefs “get that” in theory, but rarely can execute it.
The reason I am writing about this is the same concept applies to banquets. As you are working with catering to design menus, remember to look at the big picture. Consider the entire meal experience, not just one element (aka a course). Visualize the menu in your mind, focusing on how everything transitions as you move through each course and/or function. By doing this, you will give your guests a more complete culinary experience.