Home cooks are now experimenting with their dishes like never before thanks to the popularity of shows like MasterChef. Making your culinary creations look stunning doesn’t have to be difficult, and investing in efficient tools, researching new recipes and learning plating techniques will ensure that your food looks Instagram-ready while still tasting divine. Here are six ways to create that perfect-looking dish:
Invest in the Right Tools
Imagine the horror of serving a gorgeous dish on a plate that is slightly chipped, or with cutlery that is more stained than stainless. Unfortunately, not all damaged dishware can be passed off as a hipster décor item, and it pays to know that beautiful, high-quality cutlery is just as important as what’s on your plate.
Similarly, it’s essential to take the time to research and invest in the best cookware available, as that can have a tremendous impact on the taste and presentation of your food. The best artisans use the best tools in their craft, and the kitchen is no exception.
Investing in high-quality cookware and utensils might come with a hefty price tag, but your tools will last you for years and help you produce flawless meals night after night.
Know your Gadgets
Using the latest kitchen appliances offers many benefits to the busy cook. Get the perfect medium rare steak with the help of a sous vide, or pop some sweet potato fries in an air fryer for your calorie-conscious guests as an accompaniment to their burger.
If you’re a fan of eastern fare, you cannot go wrong with a rice cooker. No more struggling with the stove-top method! A decent rice cooker will ensure perfect, fluffy rice every time.
Having an idea of newer innovations will help you freely exercise creativity in the kitchen, and allow you to whip up your creations faster than ever.
Check out Social Media
While some may find social media overwhelming, there’s no question that it’s a treasure trove for finding creative ways to present your food. Instagram and Facebook have endless content on how to make bland dishes look like a million dollars.
Alternatively, head over to Pinterest, where you can find thousands of recipe ideas and learn how to create the perfect garnish. You might have to scroll through thousands of pictures of people you barely know’s kids, but when you find that one great recipe that becomes a solid family favourite, you will be glad you did.
Following your favourite celebrity chefs or reality cooking show contestants is a great way to fill your feed with delectable ideas.
World Wide Web of Flavor
Since you’re already online, social platforms are not the only source of inspiration. The web is awash with countless food blogs and recipe sites that provide an almost limitless wealth of ideas for what you can cook on days when you’re feeling low on creativity.
Just Google any ingredient and you will find hundreds, if not thousands of options. In addition, when it comes to technique, YouTube is an endless source of instructional how-to videos that will help you learn advanced techniques that will improve your cooking.
If you want to take the tech obsession to the next level, there is a wide range of incredible recipe apps that help you locate, store and organise your favourite dishes so that the ingredients and instructions are readily accessible at all times.
Prepare in Advance
Time is of the essence when you’re trying to put together a beautiful meal. To take away the pressure of last-minute cooking, consider prepping your meals in advance.
If you’re cooking lamb, marinate the meat with spices a day or two before the dinner, and boil pasta, grains, and vegetables the night before – this will give you more time to ensure your presentation is spot on. Another neat little skill is to measure out all your ingredients before you start the cooking process. This is particularly helpful if you’re cooking dishes with lots of ingredients, herbs and spices.
Simply have everything laid out on small plates, bowls or ramekins, ready to dump in the pot or pan at the appropriate time. You will be amazed at how smooth the cooking process can be with this organizational trick.
Learn Some Handy Hacks
As well as looking spectacular, it’s vital for your dish to be delicious – after all, there’s no use in creating a beautifully presented meal if it tastes terrible. There are plenty of ingenious hacks that can add an extra touch of class to your cooking. Make sure to do some research and learn handy kitchen tricks that can improve the taste of your food.
Things like microwaving a lemon for a few minutes, for example, will allow its juices to flow freely and help in preparing a delicious vinaigrette. Or, when sautéing onions, add a dash of baking soda for faster caramelizing and cooking.
Plate It Like a Pro
If you’re planning on making a stunning dish, plating is an important aspect to consider. Studies have shown that people find aesthetically pleasing food to taste better. While the difference might be purely psychological, it is a powerful reminder that food is an experience for all our senses, not just our taste buds.
Therefore, putting care and effort into your presentation will help get you the rave reviews that you crave from your diners. In plating, always remember: less is more! Don’t stack up your vegetables, meat, sauce and bread on one plate while serving.
The plate will look crowded, and the sauce will render the bread and vegetables soggy. Lastly, ensure that the appetizers are served separately and before the main dish. An organized serving will give your guests a chance to enjoy their meal in an unhurried manner.
Cooking and plating a dish that looks spectacular is no easy feat, but with the right kind of cookware, adequate research and a decent helping of technological inspiration, your creation is sure to emerge a winner with your guests.