Le Petit Chef and Friends combine culinary theatre with full marks for taste

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New Delhi, March 21 (IANS) When Belgian 3D artists Filip Sterckx and Antoon Verbeeck first presented their creation, Le Petit Chef, on YouTube in April 2015, little did they know that their concept of immersive 3D mapping on a plate would go instantly viral and notch up 30 million views around the world.

As they themselves mention on their website, the video got their mailbox “exploding” with queries from across the globe and their Le Petit Chef, who’s all of 6 cm tall, smaller than the carrots he chops, soon became a world traveller, and the show began to be presented on Celebrity Cruises and restaurants in more than 60 cities, including now in New Delhi.

Chefs have been forever speaking about how people eat with their eyes and ears as much as with their mouths, but what the two Belgian artists have done is take the idea to another level. Their meals are planned in such a way that each course is preceded by an act by Le Petit Chef that shows him, in his characteristic bumbling style, making the dish that’s going to be served by the real chefs in the kitchen.

It’s like watching a 3D animation film on your plate — and this immersive visual experience is shared by all others in the room. It’s as if you’re watching a video on your mobile, but using some really clever projection technology, Sterckx and Verbeeck, together with their Skull Mapping team, beam the same images on each plate (and table) at the same time.

It’s truly kitchen theatre taken to another level. And Delhi’s dining class, 32 guests at a time, will get a taste of Le Petit Chef and Friends at the Shangri-la by Eros from Friday, March 22, onwards.

Le Petit Chef and Friends dramatises a MasterChef-type slugfest that sees four 6 cm chefs from around the world — Pequena Maria (Spain), Piccolo Luciano (Italy), Chisano Takahiro (Japan) and Le Petit Chef, of course — churn up the appetite of the diner with their culinary acrobatics. And after each act is over, the dish that the imaginary chef prepares for the competition is served by the chefs of the hotel.

The spread at a preview organised by the hotel opened with Haas Asparagus and Chicken Mortadella (the vegetarians got avocado and cherry tomatoes), the Spanish touch coming from the spicy gazpacho.

The salad was followed by a buttery Liquid Parmigiano Reggiano with black truffle pate and focaccia crumble from the Italian chef, its saltiness balanced with a sweet beetroot concentrate injected on it.

Then came the Braised Lamb Rump drizzled with port wine jus, accompanied by baked potato fries arriving dramatically on a model of a JCB earth mover (the vegetarians got a mushroom flan and brie emulsion).

The sweet finale was a Green Tea (Macha) Cake and Citrus Cremeux. This writer wished the dessert was 100 per cent French and the Japanese chef got to do something more exciting. In our opinion, the competition’s ‘golden hat’ belonged to Le Petit Chef, for the Braised Mutton Rump lingered memorably on one’s taste buds, but the other guests overwhelmingly ruled in favour of the Italian.

Usually, a food event high on drama tends to falter in the department of taste, but chefs of the Shangri-la, who maintain impeccable standards in their restaurants, especially Shang Palace and Sorrento, made sure their culinary creations were able to match up to the theatre on the table.



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