The journey of a new dish from inception, to the first time it gets to a guest’s plate, to the moment a chef feels the dish is ‘working well’ varies significantly from chef to chef.
It almost always starts with the spark of an idea, followed by ideating on that idea to form the vision of a dish. Sometimes that all happens with a chef on their own, and they then deliver the final vision and direction to their team, and that’s it. But more often than not, the development is a collaborative effort.
Developing a successful dish takes careful planning and consideration. There are so many factors both quantitative and qualitative at play.
What’s in season, what story do you want to tell, what other products or recipes do you want to cross utilize. How will the recipes be executed, and by whom, and how much of that execution should happen at service versus prior during prep. Many times cost is considered early on to determine price point, as well as the dish's viability. And dozens of other factors depending on the chef, the business and the brand.
We caught up with Chef Markus Glocker, the Chef of Bâtard in New York City to learn how he brings a particular dish to life, and how he measures its overall success.
The Dish: Warm Salad with Langoustine Salsify and Barigoule Beurre Blanc
Tell us the story behind one specific dish on your menu at Bâtard. How did you come up with the concept?
We just came out with a new dish: A Warm Salad with Langoustine, Salsify and Barigoule Beurre Blanc. My Chef de Cuisine Jouse Quinto and I were discussing a warm salad dish option with seafood. He was just finishing an artichoke barigoule for another dish and we had this beautiful liquid there, and I thought that liquid alone is a dish.
So, we went back and forth brainstorming along with Adam Rosas, another sous chef of mine. And so I said, ‘why don’t we use this sauce to start the dish and reduce that down and make a beurre blanc out of it? You have all the flavors in there and the acid which is necessary for a warm salad.’
Langoustine was the natural choice, adding some sweetness on the plate with beautiful fall greens and some salsify, which is cooked in the barigoule liquid.
It took us about a week to put everything together, but that’s the beauty of the kitchen. A dish can be handled by three people while still reflecting our brand at Bâtard.
After coming up with the idea, walk us through the steps you took to before it was added to your menu.
When ideas come my way, I’ll try to take some elements of a dish and play around with a new protein, for example. We all taste it and I value everybody's opinion in the kitchen — there's not really anything wrong you can say. At the end of the day, this dish has to reflect refined simplicity which we are all about here at Bâtard. And it has to be cohesive with the wine that we have.
Regarding the cost of the dishes, we portion everything out and every dish is calculated down to the T — even with scraps of cuts because they’re used in different preparations for different dishes.
“Everything is calculated into the dish and we try to achieve a sustainable business at the same time. I think it's wonderful to cook and have the best ingredients in the house, but if the business is not viable, it's not too much fun in the long run. It needs to make sense.”
From both a revenue and experience perspective, how do you evaluate if the dish was successful?
To evaluate a dish, I look into the dining room for the immediate response from the window in the kitchen, or I can go outside in the garden and see when the dishes go down at the table.
I see people taking their first bites, and that pretty much tells you everything you need to know. Of course with new dishes on the menu, the servers will always come back into the kitchen and will give you feedback and comments from the guests. That way, we can adjust whatever is necessary. Not a single dish is perfect on day one, that's always what I say.
You can find out more about Bâtard and Chef Markus here...
- Bâtard — A modern, french restaurant located in New York City
- Bâtard on Instagram
- Markus Glocker on Instagram
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