As we get older and more experienced and proficient at doing something, we naturally want to take things to a new level. As you become more at ease in the kitchen and a more experienced cook, it’s not enough anymore to serve up a casserole in a 9×13 rectangular Pyrex glass dish and call it dinner. Just as a wood-worker, whether it is a hobby or a profession, fine tunes his skills with tools and materials, one can fine tune their culinary skills by experimenting with ingredients, cookware, and techniques.
An easy way to make a tremendous impression is through presentation. Presentation is the way the food is presented and displayed on a platter, plate, bowl, or serving dish. Have you ever gone to someone’s house and just loved the way all of the food looks? It could be the way the table is set, or the way the beverages are set out that catches your eye. Two different hosts/hostesses can serve the same food and drink at a party and one will be extremely memorable, while the other does nothing to delight the senses!
When creating a menu, for a brunch, luncheon, dinner party, backyard barbeque, or casual family meal, many people think that it is important to have every food item be a five-star hit. In order to create a memorable menu, it is best to focus on one or two things that are going to be the stars of the party. Everything that you serve doesn’t have to be star-studded, as your guests, friends, and family will probably leave with a belly-ache from over indulgence. Instead, focus on one or two things that you want to make very special. Think about the colors, textures, temperature, and sweetness or spice of your food and drinks. Mix it up!
Use colored plates and servers that complement the colors of the foods you are serving. Garnish meat platters with sprigs of fresh parsley or herbs. Cilantro and fresh sprigs of rosemary make lovely plate or platter decorations. Garnish meats or fish with salsas, and desserts with sauces. Layer two contrasting colored sauces on the top of a sheet cake or pan of brownies and use a toothpick or wooden skewer to swirl. Another way to make the swirly marbled look is to place parallel lines of smooth contrasting liquids on top of a cheesecake or other flat surface (even a plate) and drag a wooden skewer in perpendicular strokes. To garnish soups, top them with grated cheeses, or use a squirt bottle to place a few drops of cream or coconut milk on the top and then swirl with a toothpick. To make different effects, try a chopstick, table knife, or even a fork.