14 Mar

Art of Entertaining: Amuse Bouche – And All It’s Glory

Amuse bouche:  it is a single, bite-sized hors d’œuvre. Amuse-bouches are different from appetizers in that they are not ordered from a menu by patrons, but, when served, are done so free and according to the chef’s selection alone. The term is French, literally translated as “mouth amuser”.- Wikipedia

I always think of an “amuse bouche” as a “little gift” from the chef.   In my experience, the most talented chefs use it as a way to surprise, to set the tone for the meal, and hint at what might come next.

Although food is sustaining, it is also an art. And art isn’t about snobbishness, but about stunning ability. Take for example a ballet performance: if you go, you will see “dance as art”—something very different than “dance” as you would see at a wedding.   As you watch a professional dance, evident in their movement is skill, agility and something very special. I mention this because “food as art”, and not in a pretentious manner, is something that for chefs is first demonstrated in the amuse bouche, because this ability is always most striking in the first encounter.  Even in their use of the most basic kitchen tool—a knife—-chefs can produce mountains of perfectly-square diced anything, where I would struggle just to keep my fingers attached while not-so-closely approximating the shape of a square.

Kahn's Catering and the Art of Entertaining amuse bouchekahns-catering-food-amusebouche-2-nathanieledmundsKahn's Catering the Art of Entertaining amuse bouche


In the catering business, our clients—not our chefs—- select the amuse bouche as an essential element that sets the tone for the meal.  Many of our hors doeuvre can serve as an amuse bouche, or our chefs can create a selection specifically for a client based on their menu and theme. I would always suggest that the amuse bouche echo flavors that show up later in the meal.   For example, a winter wedding that has selected a chai spiced wedding cake, the sweet and spice notes in the chai cake can be foretold with an amuse bouche of butternut squash bisque topped with cinnamon crème fraiche.  It has an element of surprise, it amuses the mouth, it sets the artistic tone for the meal, and it hints at the wonderful delicacies to come.

The amuse bouche – who knew one small bite could do so much!

Photo Creds: Nathaniel Edmunds and Swan Luxury Photography

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