I'm pretty much a nubile, second-year culinary student that has been fortunate enough to stage at some great places. None of which have ever done a powder. One of my classmates recently ate at Fruition in Denver, and they had a cured foie gras powder on the menu. There was a former student at my school who used to do a bacon powder for his competition dish.
So I was wondering what you all think of these powders? Are they worth it? What are the best methods to making them?
Powders are fine for a garnish. I have made a couple. There are a couple of different ways to do it. You can juice something such as a beet and then dry out the pulp and grind it. You can use maltodexteran to make a powder out of some type of fat. Olive oil, bacon fat etc.
I've worked with a lot of powders and I honestly think they are over done. The most successful use I have seen for it was a bacon powder to use as a sort of crust on our wood-fire roasted bone marrow; just used tapioca maltodextrin with bacon fat for that. I've done mint powder as a garnish to dust desserts with instead of powdered sugar. I've done that two different ways: The first was infusing oil with a shitload of mint then using maltodextrin. The other method was dehydrating the mint and grinding it down.
If you are intereted in the tapioca maltodextrin method, the ratio is 60% fat to 40% tapioca maltodextrin (typically).
making powders is quite common in south indian cuisine. sometimes they use them for masalas other times they are mixins for rice or ghee. "Cooking with Pedatha" is the best book I'm aware of detailing this practice with recipes.