What’s in a Signature Dish?

As much as the chef’s exam you take to confirm your knowledge of the commercial cooking industry is based on the preparation of explicitly defined recipes, the best chefs or cooks are never those who master these recipes. Some of the best cooks seem to have a natural flair for cooking, to such an extent that pretty much every time they improvise a dish it comes out as if they’ve been preparing and serving it for a really long time. As time goes by though, a cook or chef starts to develop what they pride themselves in as their signature dish.

Professional chefs plying their trade in food-business settings such as restaurants come in for a lot of pressure. What makes a chef’s job particularly difficult is the fact that no two diners have the exact same taste in food. A dish prepared according to the highest standards may be thoroughly enjoyed by one diner, while the diner sitting across them on the same table may have their palate hit differently by the exact same dish, prepared in the exact same way. This however is where chefs earn their stripes and this is how signature dishes start to develop.

With online platforms such as Simply Deedpolls making it much simpler to change one’s name, some up-and-coming chefs take drastic measures to stand out and literally make a name for themselves. It doesn’t have to come to that however, although it would probably help you a lot to land a prestigious cooking job on a cruise ship or something if the word “chef” was officially printed on your passport. To make a name for yourself as a chef or a revered cook, your signature dish needs to develop over a period of time during which you learn how to incorporate elements which cater to the many different tastes and preferences of diners. For example, if your developed signature dish is heavily based on pasta, substituting the pasta with something someone who doesn’t like or can’t eat pasta should still have that diner walking away from the meal with the same satisfaction as those diners who do eat all the ingredients you primarily use. Fortunately though, for any chef who has accumulated some experience cooking for various different culinary preferences, all the switching, matching, tasting and tweaking leads to a stage where you could prepare many different versions of your signature dish, in your sleep.

It must be reiterated that it takes time to develop what you can proudly proclaim to be your signature dish, so up-and-coming chefs should take their time and let the process unfold naturally. In the meantime, if you do decide to prefix your birth name with “chef” however, you could always change it back later when you can be identified by your signature dish. Only head chefs really get to serve their signature dish though, so take your time and let the elements fall into place over time. There’s so much more to learn and a signature dish developed later on will carry all which you’ve learned along the way.

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