HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


3 course menu i need ur suggestions and opinions

hi guys, in a week's time ill be doing my midterms in culinary school, it'll be a 3 course menu to be done within 3 hours, i can bring marinated items before the exam:

app: caprese insalata, served with pesto and parma ham
Main:roasted marinated pork tenderloin accompanied by potato robuchon with bundle of asparagus wrapped in bacon and cherry tomato confit, and red wine glaze

dessert: mocha creme brulee,with mixed berries and brandy snap

*i marinated my pork tenderloin on soy sauce, garlic, sage, rosemary, thyme and oregano,(any better marination to compliment my red wine glaze?)
*i need help on naming my menu
*on my dessert i garnished it with some twirling sugar pulling thing i made (what shall i name that)
*all in all i wanna make my 3 course menu a high end one(i have problems with plating it)

thanks for the help!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I can just imagine how hard it is to come up with a beautiful menu. I don't think the dinner seems too cohesive. Here is an alternative:
    Fried green tomatoes, fresh mozzarella with tomato concasse and olive dressing- with or without crispy procuitto. Whatever you do do not call this a caprese salad.
    Fried mozzarella with anchovies, capers and garlic( epicurious)serve this over lettuce leaves and tomatoes concasse. This would be my favorite, just go easy on the dressing, cut down the anchovies, garlic and capers, don't want to overwhelm the palate.

    Pork with an apple, calvados sauce, mashed potatoes Robuchon or mashed rutabaga, and Brussels sprout leaves. Asparus are a spring time veg.
    Butterflied leg of lamb stuffed with mint and goat cheese with vinaigrette(Gordon Ramsay) served with fresh corn polenta and stewed eggplant(ottolenghi). This would be my favorite.

    Ginger snap bowl lined with white chocolate, filled with a lemon cream( sabayon mixed with marscapone) topped with lightly whipped cream and berries. the filling would be very close to a tiramisu filling so would be an interpretation. Would not recommend using limoncello to make sabayon but rather Marsala.
    Mini pumpkin pie with caramel and roasted pepitas(on the cover on the newest fine cooking). Looks incredible.

    I think that creativity and technique will be very important. I might be wrong but I think this is the place to reinvent classics, this is where things could go terribly wrong. Apples, pork and rutabagas are such good friends that putting them together is natural and a little bit out of the box, just make sure the execution is perfect, maybe mash them with some browned butter. Maybe you could 'turn' some beets and glaze them, two techniques in one( turning veg is very elegant and glazing is beautiful and delicious). Just remember that not everything tastes better with bacon, that simple done well is much more impressive than complicated and fussy done badly.
    I hope this helps....

    1. Off the top of my head in looking at your menu, I noticed that you're cooking in at least two different cuisines, probably three..but it's okay as long as it's not a problem on your exam. Individually, each course sounds good but not sure if they pair well together.

      First, your appetizer is Italian themed, and your dessert is French. Soy sauce & red wine sauce jumps out at me as an uneven pairing in the entree but that's just me. I would go with either the soy in the marinade and find another sauce (caramelized red onions with stock make a nice sauce that goes well with the pork) OR use red wine in the marinade AND a wine reduction glaze.

      Plate the entrée with the potatoes offset in the middle; the pork halfway covering the potatoes and the asparagus tips facing the back of the plate while perched up on the pork. Drizzle sauce around outside of the whole entrée.

      Good call on not doing anything too complicated. Wish I could see your pulled sugar garnish....hope my two cents helps....

      1 Reply
      1. re: Cherylptw

        I agree w/ Cheryl about too many contradictory flavors. Soy sauce is the first thing that pops out that doesn't belong. It seems like you're trying to squeeze in as many flavors as you can and simple is better, eg. berries w/ brandy snaps is good; berries w/ creme brulee is good but berries w/ mocha (not good) and brandy snaps don't belong with that.

        Brine your pork tenderloin in a simpler solution that will make them moist. Try a brine like this:


        Use prosciutto instead of bacon to stay w/ the Italian theme of the meal. For dessert, stick w/ the Italian and do a panna cotta w/ berries. Panna Cotta is easy to plate and make it look nice. You could use a brandy snap as decoration, although I'd go w/ a rolled Florentine cookie. For the appetizer, I'd take it easy and use marinated bocconcini and cherry tomatoes w/ fresh basil. You can skewer or not.

      2. Your salad sounds divine. Maybe plate simple with a line of colorful olive oil and a few chiffonade basil leaves.

        I think you should leave the soy sauce out of the marinade, if you can taste it as soy. You could sub dried porcini powder for umami kick. You might consider fennel pollen switch for one of the herbs on the marinade too ( I like fennel and red wine better than sage and thyme with red wine).

        If you are going italian themed, I would go with a classic zabaglione with a twist for dessert instead of a brûlée.

        1. i'm thinking of molding my potato robuchon in a ring mousse mold or tear drop, then garnishing it with lime caviar, is that a good idea? =D

          8 Replies
          1. re: vagician

            No...think about your flavor profile...mashed potato & lime is not a match IMO...and, since your potato is supposed to be silky, how will you be able to mold it in a ring mold?

            1. re: Cherylptw

              about the lime caviar and potato,the richness of the potato cuts witht he acidity of the lime i saw that on heston bluementhal's
              show, about molding it, ill just put it in a ring mold greased with butter, then bake it maybe 20 mins, until it forms,

              1. re: vagician

                Ring molds are really, really passé. Just plate it like food.

                1. re: vagician

                  I agree w/ the others, plus lime adds another flavor that doesn't go w/ the others.

                  1. re: chowser

                    The caviar could be pretty on a rich creamy dessert as long as the flavours go together:
                    Lime and coconut
                    Lime and raspberry/strawberry
                    Have you settled on your menu?

                    1. re: Gloriaa

                      The OP is putting lime on potatoes...not dessert

                      1. re: Cherylptw

                        Thank you. I was just giving another use for the lime caviar.

                  2. re: vagician

                    I just read his recipe; I still think it does not go well together. If you were using sweet potatoes with the lime, that would definitely be a good pairing, but it's your meal so you can do as you want. I'd be curious to know how your tasters like the pairing so please report back if you do go this route. Good luck!

              2. How exciting for you! In looking at your menu perhaps instead of soy use balsamic vinegar, it makes a wonderful marinade with those herbs and glaze. I've done pork tenderloin with this same technique and it came out beautifully. Are you allowed to take photos? Love to see it!

                1. Its a little late in the season to feature caprese unless you are SURE you are going to be able to get great tomatoes.

                  1. were you instructed that this be a pork-a-palooza? in 2 courses you have 3 different kinds.

                    if you are still getting good tomatoes, make a caprese, but change up the visual and textural. have a mini-tomato water martini; also tomato caviar, tomato gelee cubes, the best buratta you can find; basil caviar and basil oil. fried basil leaves. PLEASE, no pesto and you do not need the ham. this is a starter, not an antipasto.

                    simplify the pork marinade and skip the soy. it doesn't fit here. just dry rub the pork with your herbs and add some citrus zest to it. you don't need rosemary, thyme and oregano. i'd just use thyme and some crushed fennel.

                    drop the asparagus with still more pork and tomatoes again. do a bitter green, like broccoli rabe or kale with almonds and either golden raisins or dried apricots mixed in.

                    slice the pork into a fan and layer over the greens.

                    as much as i love robuchon potatoes i'd do something more textured here. like this:


                    bake it in a ramekin and then turn it out for plating. and please for the love of god, don't put lime anything here.

                    you don't need a sugar cage on top of brulee and a creme brulee doesn't really fit this menu. keep the sugar cage if you like. make a berry or stone-fruit mousse or gelato and some ginger tuiles for garnish and crunch.

                    something like this:


                    7 Replies
                    1. re: hotoynoodle

                      (excuse me for my english)
                      no sir this is not pork a palooza, i
                      planned of doing pork since it's cheaper and is much more accessible,
                      i'm not sure if what u're telling me to do is a deconstructed caprese insalata, btw i'm still doing my research on how to that,

                      and on my dessert it's not a sugar cage its something like this http://www.google.com.ph/imgres?q=sug...

                      1. re: vagician

                        Pork is fine, especially if it's in budget. You just don't need it three times and that will save you money to cut it out.

                        Is that dessert topping like hard candy? It looks like something that would work well for a child'd party but not the sophisticated dinner you want.

                        You're not in the US? It might help for us to know which area of the world you're in so we can suggest seasonal vegetables that might be available to you.

                        Finally, hotoynoodle is a chef and her advice is solid, if you're going to listen to anyone.

                        1. re: chowser

                          i'm from the philpphines, don't get me wrong, i am very happy with ur feedbacks, and i'm actually planning to do a dry run what hotoynoodle told me about the deconstructed caprese insalata

                          i attached a photo below which is the dessert im practicing, the only thing is it's just a plain creme brulee, with brandy snap and mixed berries, the simple sugar pulling im referring to is the pink one nxt to the brandy snap

                          1. re: chowser

                            thanks chowser. :)

                            sorry if i came across harsh, but you have 3 different kinds of pork in just 2 courses. it's too repetitive. if you're doing a tomato-based 1st course, you don't need them again in the main. pick something else for color, like the golden raisins or apricots i suggested.

                            and yes, if you want to do tomatoes with mozzarella you need something way more interesting than pesto or balsamic to get points for that course.

                            agree abut the sugar candy. cool looking, but it seems more like a child's confection. i'd find the artificial colors very off-putting.

                            i went to culinary school and have worked in fine-dining over 20 years, for some of new england's best chefs. am not trying to steer you wrong.

                            good luck!

                            1. re: hotoynoodle

                              thank you for the reply, sorry for asking to much, but what would u suggest me to do with the golden raisins and apricots as a siding to my main course?
                              im still new to cooking and does not have much knowledge, i'll do my best to make the best out it

                              1. re: vagician

                                add them to the sauteed greens that i offered in my original reply upthread.

                                it's great that you're open to suggestions. i wish i had a resource like this back when i was in your shoes. :)

                                1. re: hotoynoodle

                                  btw on doing the basil caviar and tomato caviar, can i do the agar-agar and drop them on cold oil method? since i don't have access on doing it in the sodium alginate and calcium lactate

                      2. Wow this is a hard one to give advise on since I have no idea what the school has been trying to teach you or what their grading criteria will be.

                        Just looking at the menu itself - I think the course ideas are very good but agree with others that the subtle flavor choices in each could be more consistent.

                        I also think that with a timed exam you need to do what you are comfortable with and know you can complete in the given time frame. This wouldn't be where I would be trying new recipes or flavor profiles (unless this exam is pushing you to do that).

                        What skills are you trying to highlight during this exam? Flavor profiles across courses (if so, you are jumping around a little)? multiple techniques using the same ingredient (I see raw tomatoes then tomato confit)? creativity (from the lime on the potato idea)? specific techniques learned during the year (sugar work in the dessert, brulee and your pulled sugar twist)?

                        Dont' forget this is for an exam, so they must be using some criteria to grade or have some expectation of what they are looking for at this point.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: thimes

                          thank you for the reply..
                          the culinary school im enrolled at is teaching us classical french cuisine, and our assessors will come from UK. our chef instructors told us, that its not about the ingredients that we need to showcase, but our kitchen skills, the cooking methods, degree of difficulty, anyway i'm trying hotoynoodle's route on doing the deconstructed caprese insalata, since doing the doing caprese insalata for me is way to simple to execute, i want to play safe, but not too safe,