Four Tasting Menus
Sometimes impromptu, sometimes mapped out in advance, a chef’s tasting menu is the mark of culinary talent as well as a gastronomic wishlist. Creative, somewhat spendy, but worth every penny, these feasts allow local chefs to shine.
Photography by Angel Tucker
To properly assess a tasting menu — even the concept of a tasting menu — it’s vital to understand the purpose of such culinary extravagance. What is the lure of six, seven or even eight courses of food, other than to push the limits of the human body? Ultimately it comes down, in equal parts, to diner and chef. When done correctly, a tasting menu isn’t about cramming food in your face. It’s about luxuriating in the element of surprise and gastronomic potential. From the chef’s perspective, it’s less a talent show and more an autobiography, a vision into the future of food as he or she may see it. Chefs begin their careers with an image of the restaurant that will best represent their ideals; these multi-course endeavors bring that vision to life. Celebrity chefs may spend more time these days telling their stories through books, cable shows and blogs, but nothing tells that tale better than a well-formed — and often spur-of-the-moment — meal.