If cooking is an art, then food is your medium, and the plate is your empty canvas. Every dish is an extension of a chef’s personality and mind-set, and once it hits the table, the artist is exposed. While scary to some, others delight in this opportunity to tickle guests with their twists on a theme or perfectly planned presentations. Let your personality shine in your food and your guests are certain to enjoy the experience–from the time they take in their first aromatic smells from the kitchen, until the last of the crumbs is removed from their plates.
- Variety is the spice of life, and spice is often the key to variety. Whether you’re bold and heavy-handed or whether you appreciate subtle layered flavors, season your dish so that it tells your story.
- Herbs and spices can jazz up even the most humble recipes when used outside their usual realm. Experiment with herbs or hot spices in desserts or try using sweeter spices in savory dishes. You’ll revel in your guests’ reactions as they remark on the hint of tarragon or cayenne that’s sparking up the chocolate sauce.
- Don’t be afraid to combine more than one ethnic flavor or style into your meal. The beauty of American cuisine is that it has few boundaries, allowing you to create a style all your own.
- Make it “Hot, Cold, Hot.” Use temperatures, not just spices, to vary the mouth sensations of your dishes. Set off a warm fudge cake with ice cream, top a piping hot steak with crisp cool salsa, or serve your grilled salmon on a bed of chilled baby greens.
- Who needs a dinner bell when your main course can announce its own arrival? Send out a sizzling cast iron platter to the table in front of your guests and mouths will start to water as ears perk up.
- Looks aren’t everything, but they sure help. Create eye appeal by using different layers, shapes, colors, or sizes in one dish.
- Remember that food is three-dimensional. Take advantage of this by constructing plates that virtually pop out at you.
- Texture is flavor’s best friend. Combine crisp with creamy or crunchy with chewy, giving the mouth relief as it finishes a dish, good to the last well-planned drop.