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Old 01-19-2020, 12:55 PM   #1
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Gourmet, elegant, etc.

I’ve been seeing different post about gourmet dinners, elegant soups, etc.

These are all home cooked and ingredients are ingredients assuming you cook with decent ingredients. But when does food become elegant compared to everyday dinner? Is it actually the food or the presentation or is it if mom gets out her good dishes at Christmas dinner?

‘I have friends or in-laws coming over and want to make something gourmet’ I see it around and I think of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants and thy kinda thing. But if you invite me into your home and don’t spend $400 on dinner. What’s elegant and what’s not?

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Old 01-19-2020, 01:14 PM   #2
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I think elegance is not so much what you make, but how you make and serve it..you may want to take time and prep the ingredients in a visually appealing manner, serve them the same way..water glasses, wine glasses, serving platters, some kind of garnish, etc..get the junk off the kitchen table and have it set before company comes....lol..
Maybe serve things in stages, first course, second, etc..
As far as what you cook, that is up to you depending on your ability and confidence in the kitchen..when I have company, I usually go with something classic that I have done a lot know I can pull off. Once people arrive and the party starts, beer/wine flowing, it can be a challenge to concentrate on what you are doing in the kitchen..have a lot of that done before people get there, if you can..
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Old 01-19-2020, 01:47 PM   #3
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Be yourself, stay within your comfort zone and your budget when you are entertaining.

The important thing is to break bread and spend time with people that you care about.

The exception would be getting a group of people together for a new and different food adventure where everyone participates.
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Old 01-19-2020, 01:59 PM   #4
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Sitting around the kitchen table eating beef stew over noodles wouldn't be considered elegant.

Sitting in the dining room eating Boeuf Bourguignon with spaetzle and a nice red wine would be considered elegant. Especially if you put a sprig of fresh parsley on top of the beef. Excuse me, Boeuf.
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Old 01-19-2020, 02:32 PM   #5
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Sitting around the kitchen table eating beef stew over noodles wouldn't be considered elegant.

Sitting in the dining room eating Boeuf Bourguignon with spaetzle and a nice red wine would be considered elegant. Especially if you put a sprig of fresh parsley on top of the beef. Excuse me, Boeuf.
Don't forget about the little finger..it has to be stuck out..
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Old 01-19-2020, 07:43 PM   #6
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What I think is funny is you serve potato's one way and its homestyle, rustic ... or , you can buy the potato's labeled " Baby potatoes " or fingerling potatoes which basically just rejects that they used to toss,. They give it a cute name, cook it up with some butter and parsley and now its elegant and gourmet. I laugh every time I pass the ' baby potatoes ' and see they are 2 to 4X the price as their larger counterparts. Heck, usually may potato harvest is 75% baby potatoes.

I agree, presentation and atmosphere is probably what pushes most things into the elegant category. Adding a few unique or exotic things as a conversation piece is a nice touch. But bottom line, must look appetizing and taste good ( and enough to fill the tummy), cause all in all, thats what's most important.
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Old 01-19-2020, 08:10 PM   #7
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What I think is funny is you serve potato's one way and its homestyle, rustic ... or , you can buy the potato's labeled " Baby potatoes " or fingerling potatoes which basically just rejects that they used to toss,. They give it a cute name, cook it up with some butter and parsley and now its elegant and gourmet. I laugh every time I pass the ' baby potatoes ' and see they are 2 to 4X the price as their larger counterparts. Heck, usually may potato harvest is 75% baby potatoes.

I agree, presentation and atmosphere is probably what pushes most things into the elegant category. Adding a few unique or exotic things as a conversation piece is a nice touch. But bottom line, must look appetizing and taste good ( and enough to fill the tummy), cause all in all, thats what's most important.
This is my whole thing. You go out and baked potato is classier than fries but at home baked potatoes at home is rustic.
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Old 01-19-2020, 08:20 PM   #8
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This is my whole thing. You go out and baked potato is classier than fries but at home baked potatoes at home is rustic.
I hear ya, Ive been eating spread avocado on a kaiser roll with onions and a few other things. learned this from a co worker from El Salvador, basically considered peasant food down there, now they have ' Avocado Toast" ( said in a snooty voice) and its hip and gourmet.

Presentation and atmosphere , and just learn how to say it in French or another foreign language , and whoever it is will assume its gourmet

(Personally I like fries better than baked potatoes , so Id be disappointed if i was served a baked potato over fries just about any day).
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Old 01-19-2020, 08:29 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larry_stewart View Post
What I think is funny is you serve potato's one way and its homestyle, rustic ... or , you can buy the potato's labeled " Baby potatoes " or fingerling potatoes which basically just rejects that they used to toss,. They give it a cute name, cook it up with some butter and parsley and now its elegant and gourmet. I laugh every time I pass the ' baby potatoes ' and see they are 2 to 4X the price as their larger counterparts. Heck, usually may potato harvest is 75% baby potatoes.

I agree, presentation and atmosphere is probably what pushes most things into the elegant category. Adding a few unique or exotic things as a conversation piece is a nice touch. But bottom line, must look appetizing and taste good ( and enough to fill the tummy), cause all in all, thats what's most important.
Baby potatoes were rejects?! In Denmark, "new potatoes" have been special for a very long time. Yeah, they cost more, but if the farmer left them in the ground, that number of potatoes would have gotten bigger and they might have been able to sell them for more money, even with a lower price by weight. I remember "new potatoes" here in Montreal in the 1970s at a premium price by weight.
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Old 01-19-2020, 08:50 PM   #10
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Ive only seen them here ( in mass production ) recently.
Ive seen them packaged in those small plastic quart sized baskets over the years at astronomical prices ( for a potato), but now the aisles ( or at least where I shop) are loaded with them , all different colors ( red, pink, yellow, purple ...)
Not too long ago, much less varieties ( again, at least where I've been shopping)
Just seems to be more trendy now. At least from what ive seen. ( not that they didn't exist, clearly potatoes have been cultivated for thousands of years in just about every ancient civilization I can think of. Now, the different sizes, shapes , colors are considered more special, trendy maybe elegant to some ...
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Old 01-19-2020, 08:52 PM   #11
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Baby potatoes were rejects?! In Denmark, "new potatoes" have been special for a very long time. Yeah, they cost more, but if the farmer left them in the ground, that number of potatoes would have gotten bigger and they might have been able to sell them for more money, even with a lower price by weight. I remember "new potatoes" here in Montreal in the 1970s at a premium price by weight.
I never heard before that they were rejects. They used to be a special spring treat because they weren't available for very long. With international trade and global shipping, they're available year-round now.
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Old 01-19-2020, 11:06 PM   #12
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For me, elelgant and gourmet means that you have taken the time and effort to make the food the best that it can be, and present it in a fisually exciting manner. Chicken broth can be either rustic, that is, country style, heaty, and filling, with great flavor, or elegant, a consume made to wet the appetite and excite the taste buds, served in an attractive bowl, with a sprinkling of freshly chopped chives or parsley on top.
Another example: Mashed potatoes - rustic, farmhouse style potatoes are boiled until tender, seasoned with a minimum of S & P, mashed, sometimes leaving little lumps of unmashed potato, with milk and butter. Other ingredients can be folded in, bits, chives, garlic, etc., all placed as a simple mound on the plated, an served with butter and/or gravy.

The gourmet, or elegant versi9n is to boil Yukon Gold and russets in a 50/50 ratio until cooked through, peeling and then cutting into same sized cubes to make sure they are alldone to the same degree. You would then rice them, and fold in half & half, and butter, stirring until they are completely blended. You would never use a mixer, or food processor on these potatoes as that would make them gummy instead of light and fluffy. The potatoes would then be placed into a piping bag with a star tip, and piped onto the plate in an attractive design, agai served with good butter, and a veloute thickened with a blonde roux. A sprinkling of chives would be placed on top of the plated potatoes.

And inside round can be a rustic, home-cooked meal, or a gourmet meal as well. For the former, season it with S & P, throw it into a slow cooker, pressure cooker, or covered roasting pan and cook until it is well done, and super tender. Make sure to have fresh onion thrown into the pot for flavor. Or cut it up and make it into a stew. The gourmet versions would be to do the same thing, adding a red wine to the roast. Or you could roast to medium rare, slice very thin, and serve with au jus.

Boiled green beans are ordinary. Steamed green beans that maintain a little crunch, as served with a proper French sauce, such as Hollander, or something similar, plated nicely is gourmet.

Gourmet and elegant means that you have put forth the effort to prepare and serve food in the best form that is possible. It includes atmosphere, what the food looks like, how it tastes, the texture uand type of food. Nealy any food can be gourmet, or ordinary, from eggs to pancakes, french toast to a classic Italian sandwich, soups to bisque, fish, fowl, meat, veggies, sauces, etc. If you want to make gourmet, learn the mother sauces, and their daughter sauces. Then learn about the other sauces of the world as well. Learn how to pair foods that will compliment each other Learn .the many different seasonings, spices, herbs, how such things as bacon, or chicken skin cracklings, or even shavings of extra sharp cheddar can enhance, without hiding the natural goodness of the food it is used on/with.

Of course this extends to deserts as well, from gelatine to cakes, to pes and pastries, cookies, tortes, mouse, pastry cream, candies, chocolates, etc.

Too make the differences clear, let me give you my explanations, fir what they are worth:
Farm/country food - hearty, well made and tasty, fills the belly.
Fast Food - edible, fills the belly, quick.
Gourmet or Elegant - a celebration of the food, with the goal of best flavor, presentation, and use of the food, with sauces and seasonings to enhance, not hid the natural fod flavors.

Seeeeeya; Chief Longwind of the North
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Old 01-20-2020, 05:53 AM   #13
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I remember watching a Jacques Pepin cooking episode ( I wish I remember which one it was . I think it was one when he was cooking with his daughter). When he was plating the dish , he told his daughter to plate it a certain way, cause in a restaurant if th4ey plated it that way, they can charge an extra $20. ( He said it jokingly and laughed, but with some truth to it). I dont remember exactly what he did, but he was basically saying just the presentation alone will affect the price ( as it would appear more sophisticated, elegant, gourmet ).

Then you have Ina Garten or Martha Stewart who go all out in their table set up, which looks like a lot of effort, but from an atmospheric point of view, really can bring things to a whole new level.

My friend works for a catering company In California. I've seen her post pics of the events they do, and their plating and table design are really nice. Reading this thread made made me revisit their website and what I found amusing is when they list the categories of catering they do, the first one is listed as " Gourmet Catering". I scrolled through the rest of the site trying to figurew why they chose categorized it like that. Honestly, I think its was just to throw out a word that is impressive, describes a certain atmosphere, quality, selection, upper - class feel to it. Not to crap on my friends business, as all the pics do look impressive and appetizing, but I think using the word " Gourmet"(in this case, and probably many others) is more of a marketing technique to elevate the service they are getting , paying for and to some extent, bragging rights as they describe to their guests the quality .

https://paintedtablecatering.com/cat...ction-gallery/
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