Who do you look up to? What provides your inspiration? What keeps you reaching for the best?
As an exercise in learning, instructors (no matter what the discipline) often encourage students to seek out inspirational idols and “crushes,” if you will, and apply their skills to imitate the best. By reaching for the stars, newcomers to a profession work through the ups and downs, falling and then rising to the challenge of pushing themselves to the next level.
This proved the case when I photographed the work of up-and-coming culinary students at The Art Institute of Salt Lake City last week during one of their classes led by Chef Katie Weinner.
To select a dish from world-renowned Noma (named best restaurant in world the last three years) and re-create it. If you’re not familiar with Noma, their website opens with a quote defining the philosophy behind their innovative and inventive Nordic cuisine: “In an effort to shape our way of cooking, we look to our landscape and delve into our ingredients and culture, hoping to rediscover our history and shape of future.”
Each student put together and presented an inspirational dish. The class time then consisted of comparing their product with a photograph of the original along with a discussion of visuals, flavor, and after a tasting, areas of improvement. I managed to get several shots in before the tasting commenced. Visually, the varying textures, contrasting colors and earthy ingredients made for a stunning visual display. I’ve included a few of my favorites photos below.
By the way, if you’d like to try some amazing and creative food from students, consider dining at the AI’s Savory Palate where the AI Restaurant Class prepares a weekly dining experience. I’ve eaten there several times and loved trying lots of new things and learning about different ingredients and methods of preparation. For menus and reservations, see their Facebook page for more details.