Monday, March 15, 2010

Monday's Plate: Hot Plate vs. Cold Plate

A few months ago I met with a very well known and respected chef in my hometown's downtown.  We came together to discuss opportunities and simply dish about the world of culinary.  I was entirely intrigued by every single thing this man said.  Why wouldn't I be?  He has built a highly successful business with many enamored patrons.  His plated creations whisper to the seated visitor deliciously devine traces of a secret love affair that cannot be concealed.  Each of his courses is a destination to be explored with all of your senses.  I am completely inspired by the accomplishment of this culinary treasure he has anchored on Front Street.  This Chef/Owner is a culinary hero in my heart always.

One component of our conversation laid a very heavy impression on me.  Mostly because it was so simple and made absolute sense.  This chef told me "You don't ever want to serve your food on a cold plate!"  He continued, "First it will suck the life right out of your food."  "Second, if the food is obvioulsy not placed on a hot plate and it is already in the process of cooling, well people will tend to eat the food too fast and not take the time to savor it."

Think about the different meals that have been prepared for you, and think about the meals you prepare at home and then compare.  One noticeable difference that sets these two meals apart is how they are plated.  A restaurant meal can be so very extra special not just because you are being served, but because your server is nestling your entree onto the table with a hot pad.  This is because they are shielding their hand from the intentionally absorbed heat within your plate.  How many of the meals that we make at home are intentionally served on warm plates?  Probably not many.  I do attend to this "hot plate" aspect much more now that I am in school, but with a 6 and 8 year old I have to be careful.  Once we are outside the restaurant boundaries this Mama's warnings apparently are not taken as seriously as a waitstaff's precautions.

I have recently discovered that you can apply this Hot Plate / Cold Plate concept not only to plates but to your relationships with people too.  Its a balance beam type of subject.  By that I mean that when you decide what type of plate you are today~ well if its the less desirable "Cold Plate"- then my suggestion is to figure out how to get the oven pilot light going and don't wait to long to stir up some warmth before the next course or social interaction in the relation to the people around you.

An appropriate use of a Cold Plate

You are having a bad day all the time and everyone around you knows about it.  Nothing ever seems to be very great about anything you encounter.  You complain and whine about the problems that plague you on a daily basis, while never taking responsibility for your own part in how you perceive and react to the situations you are faced with.  Your glass is typically half empty and pessimism is not an uncommon tool in your bag of responses.  In the most extreme of cases, this is the description of the "Cold Plate"-A person who can easily suck the life force out of an entire group if they continue to evolve in this way without interruption.  Usually they aren't actually able to affect people to this exhausting extent because people just won't hang around for it to go that far.  Now I am not saying that we aren't allowed to vent when we are having a bad day, or lean on a friend when times get tough.  Hopefully we all have someone we can go to in a situation like that.  Ultimately it can make you weary if all you ever get from a person is "The Cold Plate".  You wish and hope, and pray for them to have a better day.  They need something good to revitalize their perspective, but in the end they have to be the one to light the match.

A Hot Plate

The "Hot Plate" can set a good example for what a "Cold Plate" has the ability to become.  A "Hot Plate" person is intentional.  They plan ahead, and envision their successes far in advance.  They see potential in people and events in a way that inspires eternal greatness.  Their optimistic outlook is the main ingredient to the manifestation of their own happiness, and also their ability to motivate the same outcomes for the family and friends they surround themselves with.  The person who is a "Hot Plate" is encouraging and supportive.  Their purposeful agenda accentuates the amazing possibilities that life has to offer everyone. They know if they step into each day this way, they will effectively come out a winner.

I know I can count on these hotties!

 An entree of passionately prepared cuisine relies on the induced warmth from the supporting "hot" serving plate.  Similarly a person can infuse these same qualities into their surroundings like the hot plate, and positively accentuate their daily results while also conducting their warmth into the lives of others too.  The "Hot Plate" conclusively is the most paramount way to support and deliver a satisfying flavor for all aspects of life.  We have all encountered the "Cold Plate" from someone else or from our own production.  It is our responsibility to accept that "Cold Plate" days happen, but we learn from its faults, and plan ahead for a better delivery the next time.  If all you ever serve up is cold plates, don't be surprised if people stop making reservations.  Ahh, but if you can master the service of hot plates, then you will likely have a full house every time.   You may also achieve a helpful take-away impression or illustration by the way you transfer your warmth to those around you with a "Hot Plate" mentality.  Thanks to you someone experiencing a "cold plate" moment may be able to learn how to fire up their internal proverbial ovens to find a greater happiness too.

Together with my girls!