The Plating Trend Rock Harper Says You Should Send Back To The Kitchen

Fine dining and the fuss surrounding the experience aren't for everybody. While the idea of pristine white tablecloths and miniature portions served in a lengthy affair might sound like a good time for some, others are less convinced. Rock Harper, Season 3 winner of Hell's Kitchen, has undoubtedly spent plenty of time in kitchens and restaurants. From culinary school to competitive cooking shows, and currently a job as an executive chef, Harper knows all about the tricks of the trade.

Harper currently runs the kitchen at Queen Mother's, a sandwich restaurant specializing in fried chicken. Although he brings all of his gastronomic knowledge to the kitchen, there is nothing pretentious about the delicious, high-quality sandwiches he makes. Harper's recent Twitter post exemplifies his straightforward no-nonsense approach in the kitchen, as he comments on fancy plating styles. "I see the chef swoosh trying to make a comeback," Harper wrote. He urged chefs to stop and encouraged diners to send their dishes back if they see a swoosh. "Tell them you have an allergy to it," he wrote.

What exactly is a swoosh?

If you're unfamiliar with the chef swoosh in question, a YouTube video by the On Air Dining account demonstrates it in repeated detail. First, you scoop a dollop of sauce or creamy food matter onto an empty plate. Then, using the flat backside of a spoon, you essentially "swoosh" the sauce across the plate. The final effect is larger on one side and narrows as it reaches the other side of the plate, much like a swoosh sign. Harper's reaction suggests that he is eager to eliminate this stylistic plating technique from all chef repertoires.

Although his opinion on the topic is fairly pronounced, we don't entirely disagree with it. Swooshing sauce or purée across a plate is a bit of a waste if you think about it. If you take a large spoonful and smear it around, it ultimately ends up acting as a decorative background for your food. While some swooshes might pass as an artistic detail, many approach the kindergarten finger painting territory. When it comes to eating at the restaurant, diners appreciate leaving, feeling satisfied and full. If the bulk of your side dish or sauce is spread across your plate, it doesn't quite have the same satiating effect!