The Natural Approach
This year saw continued vigor toward a naturalistic approach, with pastry chefs as thoughtful in their plating aesthetic as their savory counterparts. Trading the sleek lines of traditional plateware for organic design, chefs are opting for brightly hued ceramics from purveyors like Heath or the curves and unexpected shapes of plateware authority Steelite International. At San Francisco outpost Atelier Crenn, Pastry Chef Juan Contreras uses new surfaces for each dessert concept: a handmade tree bark box serves mignardises, while glass-blown bowls purchased in Stockholm holds his “beet” ice cream. Tokyo’s Chef Yoshiaki Takazawa plates his matcha cheesecake directly on stone, while Atlanta’s Andrea Litvin uses local artisan stone-like plateware at Richard Blais’s new restaurant, The Spence. Like the heights, curves, and slopes of natural landscapes, circles, squares, and quenelles have transformed into more natural forms on the plate. 2012 Atlanta Rising Star Aaron Russell’s torn barley cake and lattice peppermint tuille at Restaurant Eugene evokes wildlife; Contreras reconstructs a lifelike beet from sorbet and gelée, complete with a candied root for his Atelier Crenn menu; and by manipulating temperature, texture, and size, 3rd Annual ICC Pastry Competition Finalist Aya Fukai created a rubble-like form for her Honey Yogurt Panna Cotta Rocks, Fennel Granite, and Shortcakes pre-dessert.