When composing a dish, there’s a ton of questions I always ask myself – What’s the intention, what’s the main focus, how many components, how do I want those components to contribute to the entirety of the dish. In a way, dishes are really like essays – what is the main thesis, what are the arguments, are they good arguments, how do they prove the thesis?

When I was in university doing my psychology undergrad, I tried to use few, but strong arguments in the papers I had to submit. It’s only recently that I have realized that I am trying to do the same thing with the dishes I create. And the dishes I have enjoyed the most are simple but potent. Simple compositions with each component able to stand on its own.

Keeping a dish simple can be difficult. Instead of bombarding the palate with different flavours, you focus on a few flavours but make sure that each is potent and elegant enough to make an impact without overpowering the main act.

This dish was another attempt at simplicity. I just need to keep improving.



3 responses to “The difficulty of simplicity – Octopus, guanciale, roasted garlic, sage”

  1. Lara Avatar

    Would you be able to include the recipe? Thanks

  2. torontofoodlab Avatar

    Lara, the octopus was cooked sous vide, 65c for 2 hours with bay leaves, peppercorn, garlic and onion. The Guanciale I made and based it on the recipe from the book Charcuterie, with some modifications of course. The garlic was roasted whole at 175c for about 45 mins, then peeled and pureed with squid ink for colour, seasoned as well. Sage leaves for garnish.

  3. jerrytheburritoking Avatar

    looks spectacular, now I’m hungry…

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