Would you like a shovel with your salad? A snow-cone in your cocktail? How about some meatballs in your parfait? When Barton G. is in the kitchen, there is only one thing to expect: the unexpected. For him cooking represents an opportunity to let the imagination run wild. He has a peculiarly wonderful mission: he wants us all to play with our food. His message is that having fun in the kitchen is the most surefire way to create a fun party. In The Big Dish, Barton shows you how to re-create this magic at your next party or special event. He reveals the secrets to the unforgettable food and over-the-top presentations from his beloved restaurants. The element of surprise is an underlying theme. Barton specializes in a particular brand of culinary trompe l'oeil. No dish is quite what it seems on first inspection. Take the Cheese Board: rounds of brie and camembert turn out to be miniature cheesecakes, and alongside, those aren't toasts, they're biscotti. Bite into what looks like a pop tart and you discover there is a savory lobster filling inside. Small clay pots come planted with crudite veggie flowers and black olive soil.
Sometimes the play comes in the form of scale, such as with the Bucket o' Bones: pork ribs, lamb chops, and chicken drumsticks are served in a steel bucket accompanied by a paintbrush and sauce for slathering. Other signature constructions include Voo-doo Shrimp, Lobster Toaster Tarts, Chocolate Kiss Cake, and Marshmallow Pizza. When you make these at home, these dishes are sure to cheer even the grumpiest of guests and make anyone feel like a kid again.
Barton G. Weiss is the wizard behind the restaurants Barton G., Prelude, and The Villa in Miami, as well as a second Barton G. in Los Angeles. He has been featured in publications such as "The New York Times, Forbes, USA Today," and "The Wall Street Journal." He appeared as a guest judge on "Top Chef" and Giada de Laurentiis's "Behind the Bash."