Home Lifestyle Chef Kess writes: How to take your meals from basic to lit

Chef Kess writes: How to take your meals from basic to lit

We are in 2020 and it’s about time we upped our meal game, don’t you think? Creating a delicious menu that will leave your guests satiated and impressed is always a huge undertaking.

But it doesn’t have to be as difficult as it sounds to put together a memorable meal. All that is required is planning ahead and thinking outside the box so as not to create the same ‘ole redundant dishes.

There are three main “ingredients” I use for every meal I serve at every occasion: Roots, Portion and Presentation.

As a fusion chef, every meal that I prepare or conjure up reflects my West African roots. I make traditional dishes with a contemporary and classy flair. Therefore, guests who are of African descent will recognise the familiar tastes of the dish, while relishing in the unique way it is prepared. Others will be introduced to, and take delight in, a flavourful dish that is international and authentically African.

The Jollof Arancini and the Jollof Risotto is a matter of using Arborio rice instead of Jasmine rice and cooking it just like Risotto, but using all the Jollof ingredients. The same dish can be transformed into an Arancini which is similar to yam balls. Roll Risotto into a ball and proceed just like you making yam balls. Africans definitely love their Jollof rice, and amidst the ongoing ‘Jollof wars’ among neighbouring African countries, you will find varieties that all derive from the same preparation principle. However, I put a contemporary twist on my Jollof version by infusing influences from other culinary cultures. In these two Jollof creations, I combined African and Italian cuisines. This gourmet marriage is a wonderful sight and delectable taste to behold!

My second must-have ingredient is portion. Serve small sized meals that don’t overwhelm the plate or the person dining. One should not be so full that they don’t have room to savour and enjoy the next course. Everything that you have to offer at your event should not all be served at once; nor should each course be so abundant that your stuffed guest will decline the next course. Each dish should stand alone so it can be admired and appreciated independently. However, by no means should your guests leave hungry. By all means, grant them seconds, but ONLY after they had an opportunity to feast on all the courses. Guests should leave craving for a second invitation to your next fete and not leave feeling like they did not have enough to eat. There’s a difference between satiated and stuffed – opt for the former.

Lastly, a guaranteed way to take your meals from mundane to magnificent; that evokes sophistication and glitz, is to go all out with the presentation. Everything from table decor or serving platters, to utensils, to the dishes and chargers, to glasses and goblets should exude style. Their job is to add to the festive ambience in which your guest will be dining. You, yourself, should be present as well. Don’t forget to be an attentive host. Be sure to engage your guests by dining and mingling with them.

Most of all cook, serve, and eat from a place of love. Your guests will thank you for it!

For more next level meal ideas, check out my dishes and desserts on my social media platforms.

IG: @kesskravings

Source: Glitz Africa Magazine Issue 20

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