Deviating from porcelain plates can be a tough decision but ultimately, you can’t afford to be complacent on the tableware front. Executive chef of Quay and Bennelong Peter Gilmore and chef/owner of nel. Restaurant Nelly Robinson utilise plateware for more than just presentation, proving ceramics can be all things to all chefs, tapping the humble plate as a source of inspiration and collaboration.
Eight years ago, Gilmore made a choice to go against the grain and switch to locally made tableware, citing a number of reasons behind his decision. “The evolution of my food was changing and becoming much more focused on vegetables, organic and natural presentation,” he says. “And I felt it was important to reflect that in the plate. At the same time, I wanted a new aesthetic, and I’ve always been interested in ceramics — especially Japanese ceramics — so it was a positive change.”
For Robinson, opting for unique plateware was a matter of standing out from the crowd. “We don’t want guests to feel any sense of déjà vu when eating at nel.,” he says. “We design certain dishes to a certain bowl/plate and we want the customer to walk away and be shocked in the flavours and the crockery we use.”
Gilmore agrees with this sentiment and has a shared outlook when it comes to the role ceramics play in a diner’s experience. “I think the plate is a frame to your dish,” he says. “When people come into a restaurant like Quay or Bennelong, they want to be surprised and want to have something they haven’t seen somewhere else.”
Just as certain dishes tell a story so should the ceramics they are presented on. You wouldn’t serve up an old piece of meat at your establishment so why continually serve up your food on a boring old white plate?
Source : Hospitality Magazine, 8 January 2018