Local chefs discuss what makes a beautiful dish.
For Kenny Chan, food and art are one and the same. Whether he’s behind a canvas or a cooktop, beauty is on his mind.
“I’m an artist,” Chan says. “I paint using watercolor, oil, acrylics, everything. Every detail is important.”
When he has painted something he’s proud of, he likes the compliments. The same goes for a dish he has created at his restaurant, Sushi Hana.
“I like to hear, ‘Wow,’ when the server walks by a table with a plate,” he says. “I like to walk around, see the expressions, see everybody turn their heads.”
For Chan, an artful plate might include a bright vegetable or an unexpected pop of color on a plate of sushi.
“I really enjoy color,” he says.
But it’s also about the blurred lines of the senses — like the combined sight and smell of smoke rising from a plate of chicken teriyaki.
With sushi, Chan works to make each piece or roll have its own look.
“It’s like a song. I like to use different beats,” he says. “When creating my rolls, a lot of them use the same ingredients, but we don’t keep them the same. We give a different hook to it.”
Chan gets his aesthetic inspiration from travel, and he collects ideas from any number of cuisines. Sometimes that inspiration comes from the restaurants of his own friends and family, many of whom are in the restaurant business in New York City and around the world.
“We have conversations about what’s new and how it should look,” he says.
His latest inspiration is a salmon ice cream he tried at a tiny New York City restaurant. Though fishy frozen dairy may not make it onto Sushi Hana’s menu anytime soon, “It made me think nothing is impossible,” says Chan, and the dish inspired him to keep cooking up the unexpected.
Wherever he goes, Chan notices details of beautiful food and considers how it might be applied in his kitchen. Recently at a Korean restaurant, he asked the waiter, “Hey, what’s this stuff on top?” and knew it was something he could try at Sushi Hana. Sure enough, he now uses jellyfish noodles on salads and in rolls, taking the unique texture and applying it in new ways.
The Golden Mango roll is a head-turner. Shrimp tempura and crabmeat are rolled and then topped with slices of vivid yellow mango and a mesmerizing golden sauce.
The article is from Tulsa People by Natalie Mikles and photography by Michelle Pollard
Original Article can be found at: http://www.tulsapeople.com/Tulsa-People/February-2017/Culinary-couture/
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