I love bananas. I always have. From the first taste of Gerber’s Baby Food to the delicacies I used to prepare in my French kitchens, bananas rock. Whether you like them sliced by mom on your cereal flakes, or dipped in chocolate at the county fair, bananas provide great delight. They also afford pastry chefs many opportunities to impress. I loved the larger kitchens where I had several chefs under me, and my staff always included a Pastry Chef. If my staff thought I was tough, well let’s just say, they never just walked into the bakery without being summoned. The Executive Chef gets the credit for the final food quality and presentation produced by the kitchen, but it always helped when they got the same “wow” experience with the final dessert course as they did with their entrees. I loved ALL my kitchens, but I really loved the jobs in the smaller restaurants I ran where I could use some of my training, which included spying on my pastry chefs in the larger kitchens at every available opportunity. I combined the knowledge I gained with the same artistry I applied to my plates. If you think you can run a highly-rated restaurant without a pastry chef, try it. You run out of hours in the day.
One of the desserts I presented was a pagoda made with 3 meringue rounds sandwiching a slice of Bing cherry terrine and a piping of banana-raspberry mousse. On the top layer a small dollop of crème fraiche, dusted with fresh mint flakes. The plate was painted with banana crème brulee’, raspberry and cherry puree’s. I also sprinkled the corresponding fruits cut in brunois fashion. Now my wife Kare calls the “snooty” food I prepare pretentious and ostentatious. I call it a chef’s dream for food cost and goodwill. I guess I’ve always been an over-the-top type of person than under-the-bottom. Just don’t factor in the labor cost and you’re alright. I love Banana milkshakes, although I don’t see a lot of things like that on my current menu. Profiteroles (cream puffs) injected with banana crème brulee’ and Whipped cream and then drizzled in dark chocolate. I won’t get into any debate by nutritionists on the health goods and bads of bananas, I will go by the best barometer of all, my taste buds. I declare them to be yummy .