“… And the rocket’s red glare the bombs bursting in air …”

January 25th, 2010

Part of providing catering services is knowing how to do food presentation.  Having done catering all around the Boulder and surrounding areas, people sometimes ask when it was that I first started honing my food presentation skills.  This is how I recall my first experience in food presentation.

Since I was five years old, I have had two fascinations, one was food and the other was leaving India and going to live in the United States.

Back in 1961 when I was twelve years old, I was attending school at Loreto Convent, Sealdah Kolkata. Mother Superior Kevin, a Nun from Italy was coming to visit our school and our class the sixth grade was preparing to sing a song for her and serve her some food. It was decided that one student who had a soprano voice would do the main singing and then the others would join her in the chorus. The soprano would also decorate and serve the food plate to the special guest.

Well I wanted to prepare and serve the food, so I told my music teacher Mrs. Rodrigues that I was a soprano and I could also decorate plates neatly. Anything with food was like heaven to me. My music teacher said “As you always say you want to leave for the United States this is a test for you”. She played  and sang “… And the rocket’s red glare the bombs bursting in air …”  and I repeated after her in my best soprano. Well I was chosen to sing as well as to decorate the food plate.

The food that I decorated as far as I remember was on a big stainless steel platter and I arranged it with salad. I sliced round Tomatoes into rings, Cucumber into rings and Carrot into rings. I put one slice of Tomato, on top of one slice of Cucumber and one slice of Carrot on top of the Cucumber. I arranged these stacks into a circle on the outside of the plate. Then I created a second circle inside this was chopped green Lettuce. In the middle I put a heap of Watermelon and Mango mixed together. I then took a big Orange and carved it into a flower. I put a big slice of Daikon Radish as a platform in the middle of the fruit and then put the Orange flower on top. Now I wish I had a picture of it. It really looked stunning to me. On another platter I arranged some baked Chicken and sprinkled some Cilantro on top to make it look colorful. On the same Chicken plate I also put some Rice on one side molded in a bowl into a nice round shape.

I got several comments from my teachers and the Principal Mother Enda and the Assistant Principal Mother Joseph about it. As far as I can remember this was my first experience with food presentation.

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