The Value of Ingredients

I would like to share with you a bit of my culinary ideals.  This is a bit of what drives and motivates me.  I want to pose a question.  What item has the higher value?

These just harvested fingering potatoes?

Or this Maine lobster which is about to be turned into some unique culinary creation?

What do you think?  Please comment.  I will comment as well, but would like your input.

Do we, as dining patrons typically place a higher appreciation for ingredients based on their cost?  I can purchase a 1.5 pound live Maine lobster right now for $12.95.  The same weight in these potatoes would cost me $2.45.  What would you rather have?

For me, they are equal.  I see a stunning fingerling potato salad with fresh shaved truffles, soft cooked quail eggs and a zesty sherry vinaigrette.  I can also see a beautiful fresh Maine lobster terrine wrapped in thinly shaved avocado and Meyer lemon essence.  Both items may take just as much time to prepare.  My cost on the lobster dish would be twice that of the potato dish.  I can say that both would satisfy me equally. 

My point is simple.  The lowly potato may seem like an ingredient pedestrian in nature.  While the lobster has been given an almost royal status.  I personally do not like lobster that much, however it’s cost has amplified it’s percieved status.  I may feel pressured to put lobster on a special occasion menu simply for this reason (i.e. special occasion).  I feel that all ingredients share the same culinary value, be it the lowly potato, or regal lobster.  It’s how they are  handled, cared for, the creativity in which they are put together and the thought behind the presentation that makes it “fine dining”.

One Response

  1. I have NEVER ordered Lobster. Why? Because of the cost. While the presentation of the dish may be stunning, the value of meat is not high enough to justify ordering, IMO. For a fine dining establishment, I like to see the option on the menu. I like seeing that high-end dish available, but at the same time, I never order it. However. I do order dishes made with Lobster, like ravioli and such. And what can you say about the potatoes? Everyone eats those and can be found in the cheapest dishes to the most expensive.

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