The above dessert is Greek yogurt panna cotta, basil cake, basil seeds, candied celery, strawberries and strawberry film. If you look at a description like that and wonder How did the pastry chef come up with that?, then this article is a must-read. Laiskonis lays out the reasoning behind his choices, including the shape and placement of each component, with step-by-step photos.
For example, about the cubes of basil cake arrayed around the panna cotta, he says:
I'm also using the cake to kind of define the field of the plate, giving a lot of white space on the outside. In 8th grade, I was on the yearbook staff. The one lesson I took away from that was not to give too much white space in the center, because your eyes go directly to it.
Read More: The Art of Plating: Designing a Dessert at Gilt Taste
(Images: Gilt Taste)