Students earning an online culinary certificate learn a wide range of techniques for producing fantastic dishes. However, you don’t need complex tricks or exotic ingredients to take a meal to the next level. There are plenty of easy ways to make food that looks fantastic and tastes even better.
Take a leap forward in your cooking by trying these methods:
1. Cut evenly
“Take greater care when chopping ingredients.”
One simple way to ensure more consistent results in your dishes is by taking greater care when chopping ingredients. As The Kitchn pointed out, mastering your basic cuts is the most important part of developing knife skills. When you cut vegetables or meat into pieces of roughly the same size, you can be confident they will cook at the same rate, so you won’t end up with certain bits that are under- or overcooked.
Work with quality tools, like a regularly sharpened chef’s knife and a wooden cutting board. Hold the food steady, and use a uniform motion for each cut. If you focus on reliably chopping and slicing ingredients, speed will come with practice.
2. Keep stock on hand
It’s wise to always have flavorful stock available in the kitchen, even if you’re not making a soup. A good chicken stock can be the foundation for a wide assortment of excellent entrees and sides. The Spruce explained that some of the applications for this tasty liquid include braising chicken, preparing risotto, glazing carrots and making ratatouille.
Plus, making stock is easy, and you can refrigerate or freeze it for later use. Place three pounds of blanched chicken bones in a stock pot with cold water, a sachet of herbs, carrots, celery, and onion. After four hours of simmering and occasionally skimming the liquid, you’ll be ready to strain the stock and use or store it.
3. Spice up the meal
Nothing improves a dish quite like sprinkling in the perfect blend of tastes. Start seasoning food early in the cooking process, so the spices, herbs and salt cook along with the rest of your ingredients. Later on, sample your results and make adjustments to the flavor as necessary.
Slowly simmering a dish provides more opportunities to make intriguing additions, so take your time when possible. If the food is on the bland side, consider throwing in both salt and an acid. A little lemon juice or vinegar can go a long way, helping other flavors to become more pronounced.
4. Add flair to your presentation
While taste, texture and aroma are paramount in cooking, that doesn’t mean you can neglect the look of your food. Presentation makes a big difference in the overall experience of a meal, attracting diners’ interest and guiding them as they dig in. With a few thoughtful touches, you can craft meals that are truly feasts for the senses.
Today passed along some helpful tips for more appealing plating, starting with setting out items in odd numbers. Situating food against white dishes allows their colors to stand out boldly. Apply sauces and garnishes in ways that both contribute flavor and fit into the visual composition.
Anyone who is interested in attending culinary academy aspires to create outstanding meals. Taking a dish from good to amazing often just requires a little bit of extra attention and a few easy touches. By recognizing those opportunities and making the most of them, you can step up your game as a chef.