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Red star

By Mike Peters | China Daily | Updated: 2017-06-13 07:42

Red star

Chefs who turn plates into artworks and a dining public eager for healthier fare have found common ground in the beet. Photos provided to China Daily

Beets add color and nutrition to creative plates as brilliant as summer itself, Mike Peters reports.

The humble beet probably never imagined itself as anybody's secret weapon, but that's what culinary student James Chan thinks he has in the brilliant red root.

"I always knew I wanted to be a chef in a fine dining restaurant," says the Guangzhou native now working as a kitchen intern in Shanghai. "I was sure I could learn to create tasty dishes, but I was nervous about presentation. I have always loved good food, but making a pretty plate is so important, too."

Enter the beet, once considered a grandma vegetable best-suited for winter menus, perhaps tucked up against the Sunday roast with some new potatoes. More recently, the simple root has become trendy, first in roasted veggie platters that could also feature parsnips and sweet potatoes. Now, TV chefs who turn plates into artworks and a dining public eager for healthier fare have found common ground-or underground-in the beet. Every meal in a top Western restaurant now seems to include at least one plate with a big swoosh of red.

Beets, in fact, have been turned into luminous fingerpaints-and even cocktails.

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