At 2002 Best New Chef alum Grant Achatz’s outpost of The Office in New York City, his crudité platter is the star. And, thanks to a few home-cook hacks from Achatz, it’s also a totally doable, majestic centerpiece for your holiday soiree.
Season the Vegetables Like Meat
Just because they’re raw doesn’t mean they have to be naked. Achatz dresses carrots and blanched green beans in a basic vinaigrette (olive oil, sherry vinegar, salt and pepper) to add dimension.
Break Out Your Mandolin
Vary the chopping style—matchsticks, wedges, slices—for each component to add visual and textural interest. For the winter months, Achatz likes to shave pumpkin and squash into ribbons.
Embrace the Frudité
“There’s only so much raw broccoli you can eat,” says the chef, who advocates for fruit on every crudité platter. He throws in peaches macerated with chamomile to balance out the savory.
Chill in Style
Plain old ice cubes will help keep your display crisp, but Achatz likes his ice to do more, so he adds flavor. At The Office he uses liquid nitrogen to freeze water infused with ginger and Meyer lemon and then grinds the ice into a fine snow, but you can do the same thing at home by crushing conventional cubes with a rolling pin.
Turn Up the Plumage
“It’s cliché, but you eat with your eyes first,” Achatz says. Garnish your platter with bushy bouquets of herbs, like tarragon, chive and chervil bundled up with lettuce.
Make an Impression
To achieve a grand effect, Achatz stacks tiers of Blendo glass bowls, which you can find on Etsy and eBay.