If someone were to ask me what is my favorite part of my job, my answer would be collaboration. It's almost impossible to go further without another's push, point of view, or addition to a creation. In the midst of a busy day I find myself asking my cooks, "Give me three flavors". From those answers we create and push each other to build a new dessert. I am often surprised by the flavor combinations that are brought to the table from this simple question and enjoy seeing them evolve. The newest addition to our menu is from an idea my cook Annalise Crespo (@annalisecrespo) devised. Her flavors; banana, sesame and chocolate.
For some time now I have had this vision of a chocolate coral reef. Tempering chocolate in water is not a new technique by any means, but more so the plating and structure was a constant in my mind. Going back and forth from various versions of the ice water-chocolate technique, we ultimately found that untempered chocolate at 53c and ice cold water worked best. The tempered chocolate settled too late and variations of alcohol in the water didn't allow for immediate crystallization.
The main composition of the dessert is the "sesame block" which consists of layers of sesame, banana and chocolate. This was another great vehicle for a new couverture I was introduced to, 58% Yaku. A chocolate with aromas of mango and banana with a great height of acidity.
From the top of the "sesame block" down: Yaku chocolate cremeux, fresh banana slices, sesame-crunch soft ganache and Yaku chocolate mousse the sprayed with milk chocolate. The last part of the vision of the coral reef is the sauce to melt it. The idea would be that the coral opens up, similar to a flower exposing the block beneath it. To add a depth of flavor, we used a smoked cocoa nib caramel as the sauce. Dehydrated banana chips and gold leaf garnish.
It is the most rewarding thing to see a cook's idea come to life. For me, this is what being a chef is about. Providing the tools that allow my team the space to create, discover, and ultimately explore their creativity!
Below is the video shot by Colin Clark exploring the new dish.