Sometimes it is more obvious than other times. Without wanting to seem gimmicky, I will often put clues or hints that the guest might be able to figure out for themselves where inspiration came from: a touch of chocolate cookie crumb to simulate dirt in a dessert inspired by flowers, or a bit of sea foam or seaweed on a fish dish.
With our Yellowtail Crudo, the intention to produce a dish which would look like a Chinese watercolor-inspired painting, evolved alongside our desire to produce this dish, with these components. In the end, the two concepts merged to create the Crudo "Watercolor"
The paints determine the flavor profile:
The Chinese characters translate (extremely roughly) to "meet by chance" and reference the way that patches of duckweed drift together on a pond.
The pond is painted on using basil oil and swirls of horseradish cream and populated by thinly sliced Yellowtail.
A drizzle of plum vinegar brings the koi fish Yellowtail to life
A touch of crispy rice pearls to mimic bubbles on the surface.
A few fallen Basil leaves
A garlic blossom on a peppery nasturtium leaf makes an uncanny lilypad.
Sealed with the restaurant's name in all edible inks
Pretty sick likeness, if I do say!
Most importantly, the flavors work really well, the combination of plum and basil is unique and so summery, but for us, its really special to present these flavors in a context that people will find memorable (hopefully!)