what I am going for in the plating of my desserts, using an
adjective like ‘whimsical’ or a noun such as ‘movement’ to
convey the appropriate placement of elements on the plate.
But, some get it, and some don’t.”
In keeping with Eleven Madison Park’s presentation style
for the savory side of the menu, she goes for a more modernist
approach, matching her style and approach to flavors with
those of executive chef Daniel Humm. “The desserts at the
restaurant reflect Chef Humm’s palate as well as mine,”
Pinkerton says. “Like the appetizers and entrees, the desserts
have a more natural flow. We have gotten out of the geometric
habit and tend to place the components without thinking in an
asymmetrical way. We don’t rely on the use of a lot of molds.
We want elements on the plate to have a more organic, hand-
“When I’m using beautiful fruits from the farmers market,
I am conscious of retaining the natural shape of those fruits.
As a customer, you want to know what you are eating simply by
looking at it. I don’t tend to transform ingredients into something
that becomes unrecognizable.”
“I think the desserts overall should weigh about 5 or 6
ounces,” Pinkerton adds. “I stick to what I was taught in culinary
school—the dessert should be just big enough to satisfy, leaving
the guest wanting more.”
And isn’t pleasing, but not overwhelming, the customer at
the heart of the restaurant business?
TOP: Criollo chocolate cream with Tonga vanilla bean, cupuaçu and a white-chocolate shell filled with egg white ice cream is from Patrick Fahy.
BOTTOM: This green apple and coconut battera with crispy meringue is from
ROBER T WEMISCHNER ( W W W.ROBER T WEMISCHNER.COM) TEACHES PROFESSIONAL BAKING
AT LOS ANGELES TRADE-TECHNICAL COLLEGE AND IS THE AUTHOR OF FOUR BOOKS, MOS T
RECEN TLY, THEDESSERTARCHITECT (CENGAGE LEARNING, 2010).