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Culinary Art Academy: Preparing and Styling Fine Dining

To showcase the finest cuisine, the art of fine dining calls for the strictest attention to plating and detail along with precise cooking methods. Current trends call for styling a dish with modern cooking techniques and combining artistic flair for an elegant dining experience.

OTTIMMO Culinary Art Academy has the expertise and knowledge, with world-class equipment, and renowned master chefs, to refine our students’ skills to become masters in the culinary arts.

Here are some of the culinary skills needed as a chef.


sous vide cooking method

One of the key modern preparation skills that a chef should have in his arsenal to excite his diners is sous-vide. This method is a modern twist on the traditional slow cooker. The ingredients get vacuum sealed in a bag, then slow cooked in a water bath. The result is delicious rendered-down meat and soft vegetables that create a scrumptious sauce to enhance the flavour and texture. Accompany these beautiful flavours with a thoughtful plating presentation to make your customers return back for more.


gluten free pasta dish

A preparation skill that is often overlooked but can be hailed as a gluten free pasta dish is spiralizing. This technique eliminates the use of pasta and replaces it by spiralizing your vegetables into a substitute for a healthy alternative. Use the traditional sauces for your vegetable pasta meals, considering the reduced calories and as a gluten free alternative for those with allergies. The stunning natural colours from the vegetables will surely entice your guests with visual brilliance.


infusion cooking method

The average cook does not use this method very often. The method of infusion, when used thoughtfully, can add a dimension of flavour. To separate the flavour from an item, steep it in hot liquid. It is typically added into the pressure cooker to infuse a meal. Garlic, chilies or black pepper are common spices, but lemon is also a great taste to utilize. Use these flavours in your cooking oils or in a variety of condiments. It can garnish your plate to add an artful touch.  A simple approach that is loved by the culinary world when used skillfully. 

The new age of fine dining has introduced the artful technique of replicating celebrity faces within the dish. This is definitely for those with a finer touch to detail. Consider using the pasta as hair, or brushing a sauce to create facial textures. It sounds like a radical idea but these methods are being used to create literal works of art. Impressing your guest with a beloved icon face will undoubtedly excite them.

“Cooking is like painting or writing a song. Just as there are only so many notes or colours, there are only so many flavours – it’s how you combine them that sets you apart.” (Wolfgang Puck, Michelin Star Chef)

Consider this quote by renowned chef Wolfgang Puck, there are literally millions of combinations to consider when combining ingredients with a plethora of styles and flavours. You are only limited by your own imagination and skills. Take the step to let OTTIMMO Culinary Arts Academy reveal the tricks and tips in creating beautiful dishes with high-quality ingredients. Be a master of culinary arts with theoretical knowledge and practical skills at OTTIMMO MasterGourmet Academy.

Food Presentation: Turning Toppings into Something Breathtaking

The art of food presentation is almost as important as the food preparation itself. Creativity can shine through, but it must work harmoniously with the dish and flavours. OTTIMMO has mastered this skill and will share its trade secrets with talented students who seek the knowledge and have the willingness to excel in this ever-evolving industry. 

The technique of garnishing and plating: pairing the flavours and ingredients into perfect plates. The visual appeal will impress and tantalise the imagination of the diner, making it Instagram-worthy to showcase your talent and skill, not to mention bring customers to your restaurant.

Let’s start with some basic techniques and ideas that will give you some inspiration and motivation on how to make a beautiful plate that will convince your guest it tastes superb before it even touches their lips. 

1. Food Presentation: The Smear

The first style to review is the smear. Using a filled squeeze bottle of your delicious sauce, make a circular portion on the plate, then take a spoon, starting in the middle of the puddle and pushing it out to make a tail-like imprint. Voila, not that hard for a beginner.

2. Food Presentation: The Swirl

The swirl food presentation

The second style, which requires a little more finesse, is the swirl. To achieve this effect, you will need to use a Lazy Susan or a cake spinner. With your plate spinning, use the squeeze bottle and pour out a line to create your design. Multiple sauces can be used in layers for intermediate difficulty and skill.

3. Food Presentation: The Stencil

The following technique uses spices powder for the stencil. You will need a fresh wall stencil and a powdered spice such as paprika, cinnamon, or cocoa. Place the stencil in the chosen space and sprinkle the powder. This is best used on a flat no-lip plate or platter in the unused area. It is a beautiful, simple design, guaranteed to impress.

4. Food Presentation: Graining

Now let’s try looking at a style that requires more of an expert touch, we call this graining. The tools needed are a food-safe paintbrush, a flat serving dish, dulce de leche, and chocolate sauce. Squeeze both sauces onto the dish, interchanging between colours, then use the paintbrush and pull down to create a wood grain effect in the sauce. For additional detail, use a graining comb, capture the imagination of the diner and leave a lasting impression for the final dessert course. 

Learn from The Expert

Chef Gordon Ramsay has dazzled the culinary world for decades. Let’s review one of his dishes at his famous London Maze Grill Restaurant. It’s called Sashimi on Ice, he uses 3 cuts of fish: 7 ounces each of sushi-grade tuna loin, butter fish fillet, and salmon fillet. Trim each piece into a perfect rectangle approximately 60 mm wide. Set a bamboo mat over a bowl of crushed ice. Add lemon and lime slices and shiso. Position the fish on the mat and garnish with the kiku flower. What an absolutely visually stunning presentation that will make your mouth water.

These are just some examples of the importance of food presentation and garnishing techniques used by world-class chefs. The OTTIMMO culinary academy will refine your skills through theory and hands-on training to enable the student to create their own masterpiece. No matter what your background, the main ingredients for cooking are passion and love of food. Come and join us today at OTTIMMO MasterGourmet Academy to upgrade your cooking proficiency.