Guest Author - Jason Hodge
The Internet has an almost inexhaustible quantity of ideas, innovations and information. Here's how you can use it to your benefit to keep your clientele always on the cutting edge as you take old tried and true recipes and jazz them up with new flair.
I was recently hired on to chef a small event. Familiar, tasty and healthy with a 'twist' was the request, so I popped online to browse some sites to inspire some ideas to present to my client. I looked at pictures, read articles, checked my tweets and talked to friends.
Now what does all of that have to do with getting inspired to cook? I'll tell you.
Interacting with others in and out of your creative arena, in-person or through their work, always presents an opportunity to jump start the creative motor. I saw pictures and videos, reviews, blog posts, tutorials and lots more. And they weren't all in the culinary field.
Think about it for a moment... When you're designing a dish, there are more things that come into play than just the ingredients. There's the design/architecture, the process, quantity, availability, presentation, etc. If it was only about the foods' ingredients, you'd simply schlock the food in a bowl like you're slopping some hogs and call it a day.
If you're okay with all of that... maybe you shouldn't be cooking for clients. Hmmm...
When you use the net for inspiration, you take in every bit of information that will give you that edge, letting your client know that you cared enough to make their meals expressions, flavorFULL and to their highest level of enjoyment. What an opportunity!
Here's one way you can approach your food musings' online research.
Break your meals into these four areas of focus and then start your search:
Keeping your clients in a well balanced diet is crucial to keeping them healthy enough to continue to do business with you. Try checking out sites specifically geared towards nutritional breakdowns to isolate the benefits of the meals you're going to prepare for your clientele. I've included a few of my site picks for your convenience in this link.
The history of a food is it's inspiration to be eaten. Take a moment to google food history to see what you come up with. Do you know there are museums that specialize in the historical preservation of food data?
Getting an understanding of the history of a food can in and of itself, inspire themes, methodology in preparation and a new appreciation for your common food item you can pass along to your clients and their families.
Have you ever seen a picture of a plate of food that was almost too good to consume?
One that made your salivation salivate?
I've seen those succulent pictures online and let me tell you... they were inspiring to say the absolute least. I look at the layout of the plate, the play of color and imagine the aromas teasing out of the pictures, with their "come hither nuances. I could look at a beautiful food design all day. Beyond that it gives me a wealth of angles to approach the dishes I create. When you take a design that's almost too pretty to eat and marry it to copious amounts of flavor... you've got a winning combination.
You could have the best meal, greatest flavor, highest nutritional value, etc., but if your presentation is off, it will take a meal of such high esteem and reduce it to that "schlocked" deal I mentioned earlier. You don't want that for the clients under your care! Take a moment and look at all of the beautiful ways to display your masterpiece dishes. It'll pay off in dividend sums.
Here are a few search tips and places to get you on your way:
Google 'food designs' or 'food art pictures' and peruse the many options to click on. Look at the videos from young to old and you'll find a feel that matches your clients' lifestyles.
Go to bing.com and search under "pictures food" or "appetizers".
Go to twitter.com and follow some of your fellow chefs; they're always a wealth of information and inspiration. You can also go off the beaten path and look at non-food related sites and get your inspiration from there. Try checking out your latest headlines, good/bad, happy/sad. When you peruse them, what comes to mind? How do you feel? What colors, flavors, aromas, textures, displays/pictures, etc. come to mind?
I've included a link to some online food programming and examples to get you going. It's called PC TV. Click on the link and let me know what you think. You may be surprised of the things that come up when you allow yourself to explore other fields for your inspiration.
As always it's been my pleasure sharing these business building ideas with you. Until next time...