“This dish is pretty conceptual, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t understand it on the first taste,” said Tenshuss.
Photo by Stephen Lightfoot
Local Restaurateur Pete Tenshuss recently revealed a new tool he will use for his dessert menu: a nitrogen-powered stainless steel whipper adorned with a “This Machine Kills Fascists” sticker. Tenshuss’s Restaurant, Le Connard, advertises a dessert menu “as cuttingedge as the blades of our finest Wusthof knives.” It offers an array of dishes spanning from Deconstructed Honey, a bee-shaped dollop of honey foam with dehydrated honey wings and a “honey garnish,” to The Story of a Strawberry, a “cloud” of strawberry foam with dehydrated strawberry jam “pages” topped with a strawberry. More sophisticated guests can ask for their Story of a Strawberry to be “elevated”, in which case the strawberry with strawberryflavored foam is served with a raspberry-scented candle on a slightly taller plate. A match to light the candle is served upon request — that request being an order of the “Creativity Igniter” for $50.
Food critics project that Le Connard will earn its first Michelin star within the year. “They only award Michelin stars to restaurants that innovate like Le Connard.” Says Food Today reviewer Linda Boston. “Le Connard is at the forefront of what it means to eat food. They abstract the concept entirely, to the point that you ask yourself: what am I doing? Who am I doing this for? Am I human?” Mindy Stevenson, restaurant reviewer at Gastronomy Tomorrow, concurs. “Young chefs like Pete Tenshuss define the future of fine dining because they challenge the norm. He understands the standards people have and he says ‘fuck your standards! I am a free thinker!’ He entered a fine dining scene where everyone was turning everything into some flavored foam or whipped cream, and he had the brilliant audacity to make flavored foams and whipped creams and say to the world ‘this is new!’ Who else would be so brave, so artistic, so political?”
“The whipper really transforms any ingredient,” says Tenshuss, “the guest sees on the menu that the dish has cherries in it, but then they receive a blob of pink stuff and I can only imagine how impressed they are. You close your eyes and feel the dish, and you wouldn’t be able to tell if it’s really rotten fruit or nitro-whipped cream. You think ripe fruit has a pleasant texture so you can eat it that way? No, if it’s not unrecognizable, it’s peasant food.” Some have described Tenshuss’s desserts as “too pretty to eat,” which was later clarified as a positive comment to say about something that is supposed to look edible.
Tenshuss’s latest addition to the menu uses the whipped cream maker in an unprecedented and complex way. His process reportedly starts with a 30-minute meditation in his “Man Carden” (Cave/Garden) in which he stares at a lemon with a “stern but ultimately supportive” gaze. Afterwards, he smells a lineup of lemons, limes, and a bisected yuzu imported daily for this purpose. He then zests one of the citrus fruits into a small bowl and tosses zest on unsuspecting waiters until all of the zest has been used. Finally, he puts cream and sugar in the whipper and serves the cream directly onto the patron’s table. The customer must then lick the cream off of the table and vocally consider critically the semantics of the word ‘lemon,’ or else the citrus flavor “will not come through.” Inside sources report that each successful performance of the tasting ritual ends with Tenshuss locking himself in the walk-in freezer to yell, “They told me I couldn’t do it, but I did. Michelin star here I come! Who’s the bad boy of molecular gastronomy now?”