On Friday night, I was standing at the counter, watching Chef Patlazhan meticulously plate this fifth course while still munching on a plate of his fourth course, when it dawned upon me- How did I get so lucky to stand in my shoes at that moment? I had the best of both worlds- I played food photographer, got a chance to sample all six courses, and even gave samples of baresoaps away to the guests. I had such a great time, and the experience has made me realize that I really enjoy photographing the story behind the food rather than eating it.

My goal was to capture the process and the work behind each course. It’s impressive that Chef Patlazhan was able to churn out six courses for a crowd of 12 in one night. It took him three days to prepare for this event, but even still, each course took a good 20-30 min to prepare and plate. The plating process is a precise art, flourished with vibrant greens and edible flowers. For $80 a seat, this is a steal. On the way out, a dinner guest proclaimed this to be one of the best meals he’s ever had, with food on par with Per Se. I’ve never been to Per Se (clearly that guy has), so I can’t tell if he was exaggerating, but that’s one compliment to be proud of, if true.

This dinner party was hosted by the gracious Tamora in her gorgeous Midtown West apartment. It was spacious for a table of 12, and better yet, there was plenty of counter space with bright lights, making the photographing super, super easy.

Six Course Tasting Menu

Peach/ Pumpernickel/ Mint/ Tabasco/ Olive Oil

Baby Beets/ Figs/ Ruby Grapefruit/ Mustard Green/ Cocoa/ Wild Rice / Mustard Yogurt

Egg Yolk Gnocchi/ Brown Butter Mushroom/ Hay/ Garlic Chive/ Peas/ Crème Fresh

Artic Char/ Corn/ Israeli Cous Cous/ Red Pepper/ Meyer Lemon/ Yogurt

Short Ribs/ Black Garlic/ Piquillo/ Mushroom/ Horseradish/ Barley Wild Mushroom

Deconstructed Apple Pie

1- Setup
2- Preparing course 1
3- course 1 prep
4- the peach gazpacho!
5- Course 1 is nearly ready!
6- course 1- peach gazpacho awaiting final garnish
7- course 1 is finished!
8- course 2 prep
9- course 2, a beet & fig composition
10- course 2 composition
11- course 2- barley
12- course 2- in depth garnish
13-course 2 is nearly done!
13.5 course 2 finish touches
14- course 2 garnish
15- course 2 on the table
15.5- chef is thinking...
16- course 3 begins
17- course 3- mas plating
18- mas concentration
19- course 3 lN action begins
20- LN!
21- tomara & sauce
22- course 3- plating
23- leaves
24- course 3 leaves to garnish
25- course 3 waiting for LN action
25.5- oh sauze!
26- course 4 begins
27- course 4- so much going on!
28- course 4- plating must be going well
29- course 4 plating continues
30- course 4- can dan concentrate any harder-
31- course 4 expedite process begins
32- course 4- enter the artic char
33- course 4- finishing touches
34- course 4 on the table
35- course 5 begins
36- course 5- spatula art
37- course 5 barley hits the plate
38- course 5 more LN action!
39- course 5 with some LN action
39.5- course 6- garnishing details
40- course 5 nearly there
41- course 5- mysterious things await
42- course 5 plated
43- dirtay plates
44- course 6 begins
45- course 6- its nearly over!
46- course 6 LN
47- course 6more deconstruction
48- course 6- adding the flowers
49- course 6- ready to go

My favorites of the night were the second, fourth, and fifth course. Chef Patlazhan makes good use of sous vide and liquid nitrogen in his dishes. In the fifth course, he sous vide the short ribs for THREE days in a ~136 degree F water bath. It was by far the most tender and flavorful short ribs I’ve ever tasted. Really blew my mind.

You can find out more about Chef Patlazhan at his website. While his dinner parties are infrequent (once every couple of months), he’s available for private events.