Culinary students receive feedback from their Chef instructor.

Masterful Culinary Recreations

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Inspiration from Top Chefs and Restaurants

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 work through the ups and downs, falling and then rising to the challenge of pushing themselves to the next level in their profession.

Focus on Noma

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.

The assignment?

Select a dish from world-renowned Noma (named the best restaurant in the world in 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.”

Student Execution

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 favorite 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.

(Editor’s Note: The Art Institute of Salt Lake City and The Savory Palate are now closed).

Photo Gallery of Plates

A ravioli plated with rosemary and pesto sauce.
A nature-inspired dish plated with mushroom and edible dirt.
A plate of colorful vegetables inspired by the restaurant Noma.
A Noma-inspired dish created by a student contains shrimp and spinach.
A plate containing a ring of mushrooms.
A culinary dish inspired by Noma contains a ring of orange carrots and bits of parsley.
A culinary plate inspired by Noma interprets a scene from nature with a log containing mushrooms and edible dirt.
A culinary plate contains a large rock with edible dirt and other herbs and vegetables for a nature-inspired dish.
Vegetables take center stage in this playful plate of vegetables with edible dirt.
A plate inspired by the restaurant Noma in a student assignment. This shows a log with various vegetables, herbs, and leafy greens along with edible dirt.

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