Joined Feb 27, 2011
Hi, So I am new to this but I really need some help. So the thing is I am doing a gourment cooking course through corrospondence and there was a question that I need help on. It asks "name four dishies using pasta as a garnish". So i have looked it up everywhere and can not find a answer PLEASE HELP! To say this is stressing me out is the understatment of the year. It is exactly 11.52 pm and I am still looking for the answer :( HELP???

Much appreciated, April
Joined May 5, 2010
You are a student.

You are learning.

If we give you the answers, how will you learn.

Keep at it.

You'll find the answers out there.
Joined Oct 2, 2010
April; ...gourment cooking course...    "name four dishies using pasta as a garnish"

Let me be a little bold. Anyone suggesting to use pasta as a garnish, deserves to get seriously spanked on his/her bare a$$...

And I'm not even joking.
Joined Feb 1, 2007
Welcome to Cheftalk, April.

Personally, I can't imagine taking a cooking class by correspondence. To my mind there would be too many questions left open, because they require demonstration and hands-on guidance. But that's just me.

That aside, what sort of directions ask you to answer a question that isn't found in the course material? Doesn't sound very well designed to me. They're supposed to be teaching you, not the other way around.

It wouldn't surprise me that the course leaders are using "garnish" in the more technical sense; which is anything other than the main item that appears on the plate. Often enough, what we normally think of as side dishes are garnish. Thus, at home, if you sat down to a pork chop with mashed sweet potatoes the sweets could be considered garnish.

So you might try searching for dishes that use pasta that way---although off-hand I can't think of any.

The other part of the equation is that pasta, as such, is associated with Italian food. In an Italian meal it is served as a separate course, called the primo (comes right after the antipasti). So it would never be a garnish in a classic presentation. The pasta is the main element.

Good luck in your search. I, for one, would be interested in hearing what you find.
Joined Apr 3, 2010
Save $$$  Quit this school they  are not teching you guys the right terms . Ex. Pasta could be a SIDE, but classified as a garnish ???
Joined Sep 18, 2008
FWIW, I've always thought of a garnish as one of two, separate, categories:
  • Decoration, i.e. more for the eye than the mouth.
  • Accompaniment , more for the mouth than the eye
Take a bowl of soup, a garnish for cream of broccoli may be tiny flowerettes on the top (for the eye) while chicken soup might be garnished with finely diced vegetables and chicken as well as some form of small pasta, i.e. alphabet, orzo, etc.

So, in my mind, pasta as a garnish could be defined as an accompaniment to something else, possibly even something that someone else would refer to as a side dish.

For example, one could even refer to stewed beef with red wine and garnished with caramelized pearl onions and mushrooms as /img/vbsmilies/smilies/laser.gifboeuf bourguignon
Joined Feb 25, 2011
pasta as a garnish is not silly. A garnish is not just to make your plating beautiful. It has to be functional-- adding texture, crunch, shape, color, volume, flavor, etc. Boiled vermicelli or deep-fried noodles have been used as garnish.


Staff member
Joined Jun 11, 2001
I've always used the term to mean the complementary starch and veg that goes with the protein.

Anyway I'd guess something like veal parmesan maybe would have some pasta with tomato sauce as garnish?
Joined Jul 28, 2001

Are you getting all this?????

I somewhat agree with Transchef. Although the vermicelli is a rice product.  I think a pasta can be made from rice, potato,flour etc.

I think your instructor is either very in touch with food or a boob. I can actually think of a few dishes that use a pasta product as a garnish.

Maybe taking Italian out of the equation for some.

I also think Transchef is right on when she says that the garnish should not only make the dish eye appealing but also enhance the dish.

Please let us know the outcome of your research.

Joined Aug 26, 2010
I've seen fried rice noodles as a garnish for several different Asian-style dishes.  Way back when, Olive Garden made pasta in-house (at least some of it).  When they added the spinach artichoke dip, they used "fried pasta chips" as the item to dip into the dip.  They were actually pretty good.  In this case, they were about the size of a Frito "Scoop", actually, a little larger.  I can see taking a piece of fresh pasta, frying it up and using it as something to stick up out of mashed potatoes for a change in texture, etc.  However, that's the only "garnish" I can think of off-hand for an Italian type pasta.  Perhaps some small pasta as a garnish for the top of a soup?
Joined Feb 27, 2011
Hey, Thanks everyone who helped. I am sending it away tomorrow morning and I will let you know how it turns out :)

Thanks again
Joined Feb 3, 2011
It was about 10 years ago at an Italian place (3 hats) Buon Riccordo that we had pasta as a garnish. It was hand made, sort of like spaghetti though very uneven, salty, herbed and deep fried, then drizzled with olive oil. It was ordinary, and I wouldn't be keen to eat it again. I just checked with my wife and she doesn't remember it's name.
Joined Oct 2, 2010
If the meaning of the culinary term "garnish" has expanded to anything more than "decoration", then maybe I would have reasons to apologize for my first post.

But, April is having a cooking class, so I would expect a correct use of any culinary terminology that is presented to her.

Many people will agree that the word "garnish" is a derivate from the french verb "garnir", which means to decorate. In "ancient" times, chefs threw chopped parcely on anything that left the kitchen.  Now they use flowers, leaves and more recently babyleaves, and very young shoots from all kind of seeds used in the kitchen; like shoots from mustardseeds, nigellaseeds.. etc. Imperative now is that any such addition has to add at least a taste contribution and yes, make the dish look even more appetizing. Eating has expanded from just tickeling our tastebuds to pleasing all of our senses.

Years ago, I've seen chefs deep-fry 2 or 3 raw spaghetti stalks to use as a decoration or garnish. You could say it adds a crunch to a dish, which addition is a good texture variation, but, I'm afraid the purpose was decoration, nothing else. A garnish that isn't also an ingredient shouldn't be on a plate.  
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Joined Feb 25, 2011
From dictionary.comgar·nish   /ˈgɑrnɪʃ/ Show Spelled[gahr-nish] Show IPA–verb (used with object) provide or supply with something ornamental; adorn; provide (a food) with something that adds flavor, decorative color, etc.: to garnish boiled potatoes with chopped parsley. From etymonline.comgarnish (v.) Look up garnish at late 14c., from O.Fr. garniss-, prp. stem of garnir "provide, furnish; fortify, reinforce,"I'm not arguing. Just being a dork. hehehehehe. Seriously, my pet peeves are parsley, mint, fruit rounds and wedges, and sliced (not julienne) raw vegetables used as garnishes. Maybe it's just me.
Joined Feb 1, 2007
No need to apologize, Chris. The confusion is very understandable.

It's not so much that the meaning has expanded, but that common usage and fine-dining usage are different.

We all pretty much grew up where "garnish" meant tossing a hunk of curly parsley on top of the plate. And most cookbooks and other sauces use the word that way---garnish by tossing bits and pieces of decorative this and that on the plate. This often led to abuses in which inedible products were often used, just because they were pretty.

In the broader sense, garnish is anything edible that compliments the main dish. This could be the common bits and pieces of this and that. Or it could be what are commonly called side dishes. Broaden that out, in your mind, and you'll see way: "Side" actually means "aside," something that takes second place to the actual main event. At a circus we have a side-show that really typifies this. What happens at the side-show may be interesting. But what we're there for is the big top.

So, let's look at my example above. The menu item would be grilled pork chops. If I merely put them on a plate, I would satisfy the menu description. But instead, I garnish them with a dollop of mashed sweet potatoes. The dish is still grilled pork chops, because that's the main element.

Where it gets difficult is with something like the typical American at-home presentation of a plate divided in three. Kuan's starch and veggie accompanying the main protein. We tend to see that as three complementary dishes, and not think of the sides as garnish. But let's look at this: The main is a pan-fried chicken palliard. For the plating we start with a ring-molded portion of mashed potatoes. Surrounding the spuds are a couple of asparagus spears on each side, bent to follow the contour of the potatoes. The palliard is placed on top of the spuds.

Putting any discussion of plating aside, visually it's easy to see how the potatoes and asparagus are support staff for the chicken when done that way. Yet, the total plate is the same protein and two sides.

And, of course, after saucing the chicken, don't forget the hunk of curly parsley. /img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif
Joined Jul 30, 2007
From gar·nish    /ˈgɑrnɪʃ/ Show Spelled[gahr-nish] Show IPA –verb (used with object) 1. to provide or supply with something ornamental; adorn; decorate. 2. to provide (a food) with something that adds flavor, decorative color, etc.: to garnish boiled potatoes with chopped parsley. From garnish (v.) Look up garnish at late 14c., from O.Fr. garniss-, prp. stem of garnir "provide, furnish; fortify, reinforce," I'm not arguing. Just being a dork. hehehehehe. Seriously, my pet peeves are parsley, mint, fruit rounds and wedges, and sliced (not julienne) raw vegetables used as garnishes. Maybe it's just me.
personally, i think that parsley in and of itself is totally underrated...its taste is so very fresh and clean...and a sprig of fresh italian flatleaf parsley is a thing of beauty...yes, even on a plate! i use sprigs of herbs as garnish alot...small stalk of rosemary,sprigs of thyme or chevril, basil tops and mint too can sometimes add just the right touch.....

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Joined Feb 1, 2007
I totally agree with you, Joey, about flat-leaf parsley.

When I was growing up, however, everything, and I mean everything, was garnished with curly parsley. And if there's anything in the kitchen more useless than that I can't think what it may be. Totally tasteless (first thing everybody did was move it to the side of the plate), and often contributing little to the visual appeal of the dish. Only thing it brought to the presentation table was its cheapness.

You're a lady, so I can't share with you the old off-color joke that resulted from all that garnishing. But it ended with ......nobody eats parsley!
Joined Feb 1, 2007
The thing is, TransChef, you can "prove" just about anything if you choose your reference works carefully. F'rinstance, this from Encarta:
gar·nish [ grnish ]

transitive verb  (past and past participle gar·nished, present participle gar·nish·ing, 3rd person present singular gar·nish·es)
1. enhance food or drink: to add something as an accompaniment to food or drink that enhances its flavor or appearance

The key words here would be "something" "accompaniment" and "enhance." That pretty much leaves the field wide open to anything.
Joined Sep 18, 2008
"The Professional Chef", C.I.A., 7th Edition, page 1004:
garnish: An edible decoration or accompaniment to a dish
"The Professional Chef", C.I.A., 7th Edition, page 298:
Hundreds of classically codified garnishes for consommés exist...
"The Professional Chef", C.I.A., 7th Edition, page 768:
...a green made of one or more salad greens...Garnishes, such as other vegetables, croutons, and cheeses, are often included as well.
The index of "The Professional Chef", C.I.A. 7th edition, lists eleven (11) separate references for garnishes to specific categories of dishes, and they all relate to adding something to the dish, not decorating the plate.
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