Saturday, December 3, 2011

Matthew Kenney Academy Level 1 Finals

For the first 3 weeks of our training, we studied and replicated some exciting recipes, learned about ingredients that are commonly used in raw food cuisine and got to know all the basic equipment and tools that are used to combine those ingredients in the recipes into flavorful dishes that we learned to plate in many beautiful and appetizing ways. When week 4 came along, it was finally time to put all this newly acquired knowledge to practice and show off with our final projects.

Each student had to come up with an exclusive 3 course menu, from which we were to choose two dishes that we would execute for our final presentation.

With all the inspiration we got during our first 3 weeks and taking more inspiration from the library of high cuisine books in the Academy, all the students were able to come up with mouthwatering menus and I would seriously consider ordering almost all of them were they available in the restaurant. We all worked hard during this week and the outcome was absolutely amazing. So before I present my menu, just a few of the highlights of the other students in class:

My favorite dessert: Gaby's take on the traditional Austrian Plum Dumplings
My second favorite dessert: Barbarella's Cremeschnitte, she is Slovenia's #1 Raw Chef
Kibbie's Thanksgiving in a bite: Stuffed dumpling on a delish cranberry jam
Wendy's fancy take on the traditional Indian Malai Kofta, check out her blog

I could write and report so much more about everybody's dishes but it would exceed the space for a blog post, and I am very excited to share with you more about my ambitious menu:

The theme was fall and seasons. Inspired by this, my first two thoughts were root vegetables and Thanksgiving, which is exactly, what I turned into my final project:

Abstraction: Trio of Roots
Jerusalem Artichoke Nutmeg Flan – Red Beet Cumin Ice Cream – Carrot Coriander Foam
Main Course
Familiarity Decomposed: Autumn Comfort
Pecan Rosemary Brittle
Delicata Truffle Puree – Cranberry Mirror
Timbale of Portobello
Argan Braised Brussel Sprouts
Pomegranate Red Wine Reduction

The abstraction of root vegetables popped up as an inspiration of the colors of the fall. The colors of the fall are the most amazing of the year, the sun is lower and gives the leaves of the trees shimmers of orange, red, silver, brown and many more. This is what I wanted to put on my plate, applying some of the new techniques, we learned in class, like using the paco jet for making the most fluffy ice creams, or the immersion blender to make fancy foams.

For the main course, I was inspired by a Traditional Thanksgiving Meal, which I decomposed and rebuilt to make it a fine dining experience: Mashed potatoes turned into a delicata squash and truffle puree, cranberry relish turned into an iced cranberry mirror, Turkey and stuffing turned into a portobello stew on a pecan brittle and for the veggies I chose my favorite brussel sprouts that I gave a buttery flavor using argan oil and served them on a pomegranate red wine reduction to bring the taste of a fruity and dry wine onto the plate.

Now after telling you all this, your mouths are probably watering and you will want to do this for yourself. And here is my little Thanksgiving gift to you. You can, because I am sharing the recipes with you :)

Happy Thanksgiving to all my blog readers and here are the recipes for my final project:

Abstraction: Trio of Roots

Jerusalem Artichoke Hazelnut Flan


¼ cup Irish Moss Paste
5/8 cups hazelnut milk (make milk from ½ cup hazelnuts and 1 cup water)
¾ cups jerusalem artichokes (peeled and diced)
½ t nutmeg
½ t salt
1 t balsam vinegar
¾ t agave
6 turns fresh ground black or white peppercorn
1 t nutritional yeast
2 T porcini crusted jerusalem artichoke chips (see recipe below)

blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until completely smooth. Line the molds of a muffin tin or individual flan cups with plastic wrap; the recipe should yield 3 flans. Pour the smooth flan batter into the molds and let set in fridge for 24 hours (or in freezer to speed up the process). If the flan turns out to be too thin after it set, place it in the freezer for about 1 hour before serving, so it can be served as a semifreddo.

Porcini Crusted Jerusalem Artichokes

2 Jerusalem artichokes, thinly sliced on a mandoline (no need to peel them)
¼ t salt
2 T porcini powder (make powder from dried porcini mushrooms in coffee grinder)
splash lemon juice
1 t olive oil

put the sliced Jerusalem Artichokes in a bowl, add the other ingredients and mix well so that all the artichoke slices are well covered. Transfer them to a dehydrator sheet and dehydrate at 105 F (42 C) for about 48 hours or until crispy. You can make a big batch of these and have them available as a healthy and delicious snack or finger food appetizer any time.

Red Beet Cumin Ice Cream

1 cup young coconut meat
½ cup of cashews
½ cup beet juice
½ cup coconut water or regular water
3/8 t cumin
½ t salt

blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until very smooth. Transfer to an ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s manual to make ice cream.

For decoration: make a fine julienne from a little piece of red beet and coat it in a bowl with a splash of lime or lemon juice and a pinch of salt. Transfer them to a dehydrator sheet and dehydrate until crispy (about 24 hours)

Also: finely mandoline a few slices of red beet and marinate them overnight in a little bit of olive oil, a pinch of salt and if you like, 1/4 teaspoon of finely minced garlic. Massaging the marinade a little bit into the red beet carpaccio helps softening it up. You can also dehydrate the carpaccio slightly before serving (for about 1 hour).
Carrot Coriander Foam

¼ cup carrot juice
1/8 cup orange juice
2 T lime juice
½ t coriander powder
3 T grapeseed oil (or olive oil)
1 pinch turmeric
1 pinch salt
1 t sunflower lecithin

combine all ingredients in a deep bowl. Use an immersion blender to create a nice stable foam, by frothing along the surface.

Jerusalem Artichoke Flan, Porcini Crusted Jerusalem Artichoke Chips
Red Beet Cumin Ice Cream on Red Beet Carpaccio
Carrot Coriander Foam


On one side of a rectangular plate, sprinkle a few crushed candied hazelnuts (or just plain dehydrated hazelnuts if you don't want to candy them), take one flan out of the mold by lifting up on the ends of the plastic wrap and carefully flip onto the bed of hazelnuts. Stick 3 jerusalem artichoke chips on top of the flan, so they create kind of a fan. On the other side of the plate, place a piece of the red beet carpaccio on the bottom of the plate. Taking two spoons, quenelle one scoop of the red beet ice cream on top of the carpaccio. Garnish with the crisp red beet julienne. 
Carefully spoon some carrot foam on the plate in between the red beet and the Jerusalem Artichoke flan. Garnish with black sesame seeds and black lava salt to taste.

Main Course
Familiarity Decomposed: Autumn Comfort

Pecan Brittle:

1/4 cup pecans, chopped in food processor to a coarse nut flour 1/4 cup almond flour (pulp leftover from making almond milk)
2 t maple sirup
1 T lemon juice

1 T ground flax
1/4 cup carrots, processed in food processor to fine minced consistency 1 T rosemary, finely chopped
1/2 clove garlic, grated on a microplane
zest of 1/2 orange (use microplane to zest)
6 turns of fresh ground black pepper
1/2 t nutritional yeast
1/4 t salt
1/2 cup water 

Portobello Stew

1 portobello mushroom, medium to large dice
1/2 celery root, small dice (discard the ends, the ratio of celery to portobello should be about 1:2 celery root : portobello mushroom)
1/4 cup pinenuts, chopped lightly
1/4 cup parsley leaves, chopped
1/4 - 1/2 t salt
10 turns of fresh ground black peppercorn
1/8 of a red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup of red wine
1/4 cup of celery juice
6 juniper berries
1/3 clove garlic
1 t fresh sage, chiffonade
3-4 sun dried tomatoes, sliced thinly

In a blender, blend red wine, celery juice, garlic and juniper berries. Place all other ingredients in a bowl, cover with the red wine celery juice blend, mix well and let marinate overnight. Place into dehydrator for about 2-3 hours before serving to soften and reduce the red wine and liquid.

Delicata Truffle Puree

1 cup delicata squash (or butternut squash or other soft pumpkin/squash)
1/3 cup cashews, soaked for 2 hours
1 T grapeseed oil
1/2 T water
1/2 t truffle oil
1/4 t salt
4 turns freshly ground black peppercorn
1/4 t ground nutmeg

Blend all ingredients in a Vitamix, using the plunger to create a smooth, creamy puree.

Cranberry Mirror

1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries
1/4 cup maple sirup

Blend in a high speed blender and then strain through a nutmilk bad or chinois. Place in a bowl in dehydrator and reduce for about 2 hours or until it is just thick enough to be poured onto a teflex sheet. Careful: don't let it thicken too much , otherwise you cannot pour it onto the teflex sheets without having it loose its "glass" / "mirror" like look. Pour abstract fragments or the cranberry sauce onto telex sheets and sprinke with black lava salt.
Dehydrate until the moisture is completely gone and the "mirrors" become brittle. This might take up to 1 week! Alternatively or additionally, you can freeze the fruit leathers and just put them onto the puree last thing when plating, so they stay crisp.

Pomegranate Red Wine Reduction

1 pomegranate
1/4 cup red wine
1 t rosemary
1/2 whole clove
1/4 t salt

Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender and put through a strainer. Dehydrate in a flat metal pan in the dehydrator until it has thickened up to a sirup like consistency (around 6 hours). If dehydrated too much, you can add a few drops of water to get to the desired consistency.

Argan Braised Brussel Sprouts

5 brussel sprouts, cut into thin rounds (about 1/4 inch thick)
1 T argan oil
1 T orange juice
1/2 t balsamic vinegar
1/2 t maple sirup
1/4 t black lava salt (or sea salt)
6 turns freshly ground black pepper
1/4 clove garlic (microplaned or minced finely)

Whisk all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and mix well with the brussel sprouts, so they are all well coated. Let marinade overnight and warm up in dehydrator for about 2 hours before serving to soften and get the flavors well infused.

Portobello Stew on Pecan Brittle
Delicata Truffle Puree, Cranberry Mirror
Argan Braised Brussel Sprouts on Pomegranate Red Wine Reduction


On a square plate, place one pecan brittle in one corner. Use the square mold to place the warm portobello stew on top of the brittle. On the other corner of the plate, use the square mold to place a portion of the delicata truffle puree. Draw a diagonal swirl of the pomegranate reduction on the front part of the plate and along the diagonal, line up 5-7 pieces of the braised brussel sprouts. At last, place a piece of the frozen cranberry mirror onto the truffle puree so it sticks out and sprinkle some sage powder around the portobello stew. Serve immediately, before the mirror starts to disintegrate.

Proud me with my graduation dish :-)

Graduation with the Instructors: Chef Britney, Chef Shawn, me, Chef Megan

The happiest class ever


  1. Amazing Boris!
    Thanks for sharing your experience, fantastic creations and recipes, and your lovely photos,

  2. Fantastic menu! Congratulation! I also love autumn colors! These ingredients make the greyer winter days just so much brighter and happy :)

  3. hey b,

    awesome!! really awesome! i posted a link to your blog in my blog, hope that's ok..

    really, awesome!

  4. Hi Mel, of course that's ok :-) Thanks!!

  5. Awesome. It looks like you're having a great time. It's clear that this academy is full of extremely talented people!

  6. Congratulations! Boris.
    Your Menu is stunning and the recipes
    look fabulous. I hope I'm up to trying something soon.
    We think of you fondly, and hope to get to
    Berlin again sometime.
    Meanwhile, don't forget to visit us in Portland, OR!

    Judith and Dik

  7. I'm loving reliving my time at the Academy through reading your posts.
    Your final menu is mind-blowing! Bravo.

  8. thank you for sharing these recipes! what is black lava salt? does ist taste different than other salt?