A dish is eaten with your eyes first, before we get to the aroma and taste even. Little wonder though why plating and presentation are so important. Food is the one medium that stimulates all our senses. While I’ve elaborated on this in the Ranveer’s Pyramid of Taste section in my autobiography (Get it here) , let’s quickly touch base on a cooking technique I find exhilarating, as do most cooks – Flambé
Flambé is a technique of ‘Flaming’ or setting fire to food using alcohol or other food-safe inflammables as a finishing to the dish.
While some say the technique dates back to the 14th century, other references point to the 19th century.
Making a quick detour to our cooking, with our techniques of Dhungaar, cold smoking, stuff that has equal flare, basically creating the drama with smoke instead of fire, these equally capture the essence of chef-showmanship.
Chefs are artists in their own right and food is their medium of expression. And of course, we like to get dramatic too!!
Flambé-ing is equally exciting for the cook as for the patrons.
Flaming burns off the alcohol leaving the residue that adds the taste of the liqueur. That’s why alcohol is called ‘Spirit’..get it? 🙂
While it’s strictly advised to NOT try Flambé at home, or to proceed with caution if you are mastering the skill, there are several points to bear in mind to get it right, from the temperature of the alcohol to be flambé-ed, the kind of pan to be used and much more.
Be it Flambé or Dhungaar, behind the smoke screen (literally) lies the skilful process of imparting that one last flavour element to a dish. Now that’s the kind of drama we chefs like…