A balanced meal is especially satisfying when using the nutrient-dense whole foods cuisine that we study. One can actually stop eating, and eat less, after eating a balanced meal of energetically whole ingredients. Design principles are the same for simple meals to the most complex and exotic. In this topic, artistry relies on detailed study from the other training topics. Exercises in theories of meal composition are woven throughout the entire Natural Cook Training. As the program goes further, the meals become more complex.
Details and Inspiration
The concept for this topic was inspired during an interview with a client as they talked about the dinner they were asking me to cook. A brown paper grocery bag* was nearby and I used it to sketch the meal, the way one might jot ideas that just can’t wait, on a paper napkin. Each time the client lit up with an idea, it went into a category on the brown bag. Dishes outlining textures and shapes that the client told me they liked, formed and were placed into the developing chart. Their tastes and flavors were fashioned into the protein, grain and vegetables of their choice. Often an unspoken topic drove the menu design. But I knew what to look and listen for. Once the structure of the meal’s macronutrients was charted, the missing elements could be filled in while cooking. Leaving some things unsolved in the chart allowed in the moment adjustments to colors, tastes, textures and the actual ingredients that would show up for the meal.
As a young person, when my dad was at the dinner table, he would turn dinner time into a presentation of the principles of art and design. He was an artist and a teacher. We listened, and chewed our peas. When it was time to have my students put the techniques of the curriculum together to create meals, his wise words filled my chart and rule book. Today, SNC has a very clear chart, with rules to help organize the mind and possibilities, and clarity on where to change or be flexible within the good design.
Exercises in theories of meal composition are woven throughout the entire Natural Cook Training. As the program goes further, the meals become more complex.
* This was the beginning of my career as a Private Chef in 1980. The brown bag was just the beginning of the evolved chart now available for students to take into their careers.