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Food Hacks

25 Ways to make your home-cooking look restaurant-level good

April 23rd, 2021

Cooking at home and going out to a restaurant both have their advantages and disadvantages. While it’s fun to get out of the house and let the pros handle your meal, it can be expensive and is not exactly the best idea if you’re practicing social distancing. However, cooking at home can be very time-consuming and, often, the result is just not the same. But what if you could make delicious, restaurant-quality food with minimal effort? Well, we’ve compiled a list to help you do just that!

1. Dessert Served in a Glass

Serving dishes in unique containers is an easy and fun way to add some visual interest to your home-cooked meals. Try serving your desserts in a champagne flute or a large wine glass to add a little class to your guests’ culinary experience. Go through your cabinets and see what other visually interesting containers you can use. And why stop at dessert?

2. Salad Served in a Glass

You can also try serving cold salads in a glass instead of a dish. Serving a salad in something transparent allows your guests to see the layers of the salad inside – after all, we eat with our eyes. This will wow your guests with added visual interest while adding a touch of sophistication to the first course of the meal.

3. A ‘Grazing’ Table

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Reddit Source: Reddit

If you have a large party to host with a lot of guests, you don’t have to worry about having enough dishes to serve them dinner on. The creator of this genius ‘grazing station’ arranged a beautiful charcuterie board across an entire table, filling it with cheeses, fresh fruit, deli meat, and other snacks. This way, they were able to serve 75 guests. And, as a bonus, there were no dirty dishes to clean afterward!

4. Color Coordination

Coordinating your dishes by color is one of the simplest ways to take your presentation game up a notch. Create a gorgeous gradient of color by arranging foods by color so that the dish really pops. This aesthetically pleasing technique doesn’t take a lot of time and the result is well worth the extra effort.

5. Play With Different Shapes

Everyone is used to the shape of all the foods we eat, so another easy way to add interest and elevate your meal is to play with different shapes. This way, you can even make something as recognizable as a piece of toast fun, unique, and surprising. Make your guests intrigued about what they are eating.

6. Miniature Desserts

Mini cheesecake selection. from r/FoodPorn

To add a touch of class to dessert, try to make a few different miniature portions. This way, your guests will be able to try a few different desserts. Or, make personal dessert portions for each person instead of serving slices – this will make your guests feel extra special!

7. Edible Dishes

What could be more fun than being served a portion of food where you can eat the dish it came in? Make your dishes edible. Make bread bowls for stews, use tortilla wraps… basically use any food as a vessel for more food. As a bonus, you don’t have to clean the dishes at the end of the night!

8. Home-Grown Food

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Reddit Source: Reddit

It’s surprisingly easy to level up your chef game by creating food from items you harvested, baked, or grew yourself. Try growing a herb and vegetable garden in your own backyard, buy a few chickens to get fresh eggs, and forage for wild mushrooms when you go on a hike in the woods. Serving your guests or loved ones food that you harvested yourself will always add an extra layer of ‘wow’.

9. Make Food a Work of Art

It’s a well-known fact that we “eat with our eyes.” So instead of simply making the meal, you’re comfortable with, again and again, try spicing things up a bit. Use the same ingredients and method, but try to make your dish look like a work of art with excellent presentation.

10. Sometimes More is Better

Okay, it’s true that in most cases, a simple presentation is better. We’re used to trying not to overcomplicate things by limiting the number of ingredients. But sometimes, more really is better. And when it comes to dessert toppings, don’t hold back.

11. Themed Charcuterie Boards

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Reddit Source: Reddit

This couple was having a Viking-themed wedding, so what better way to tie in their theme than making a giant charcuterie board that resembled a Viking ship? Next time you’re having a themed dinner party, try to get creative with the arrangement of your smoked meat, cheeses, crackers, and fresh fruit on your charcuterie board to blow your guests’ minds!

12. Minimalism

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A post shared by Alya (@mimi_brune)

While over-the-top presentation has its place, there are occasions where less is more. With a little attention to detail, the simplest meal can become a beautiful, restaurant-quality dish. Pay some attention to the most enticing way to present your dish and let the star ingredient speak for itself.

12. A Large Variety

Appetizers that allow customization by your guests are always an easy win. For instance, a bruschetta bar will give your guests a range of different toppings to choose from. Including toppings like spinach, cheese, smoked salmon, nuts, fruit, and jam will ensure that every taste is catered for – whether guests want sweet or savory is entirely up to them.

13. Serve Straight From the Pan

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Reddit Source: Reddit

If you’re serving a hearty meal that’s made in one pan, like spaghetti and meatballs, try serving it to your guests straight from the cast iron pan. This adds a wonderfully rustic and intentionally simple aesthetic that’s both beautiful and appetizing to look at.

14. More Options

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Reddit Source: Reddit

An easy way to give what you’re serving a ‘wow’ factor is to add more options to go with it. This way, you can turn something as commonplace as french fries into an entire taste experience. Here, many different kinds of fries with different textures are on display, along with 12 different dipping sauces.

15. Imagery

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A post shared by idafrosk (@idafrosk)

If you’re artistically inclined, making beautiful pictures with wood items will elevate a simple dish to a whole new level. For example, everyone knows what a pancake looks like, but when you cut and arrange them into a work of art you’ll create a meal that will be difficult to forget!

16. Make Mealtime Fun

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A post shared by Samantha Lee (@leesamantha)

This is especially useful when you have young children who won’t eat their vegetables. Instead of fighting with them, try to make mealtime fun for them by turning dinner into a visual experience. By making food into cute works of art, you can be sure they’ll be excited to eat whatever is on their plate.

17. Decorate Your Food

Another way to take your simple meal from bland to beautiful is to decorate it. It’s attention to the little details that elevate a homemade dish to a restaurant-quality one. Take, for instance, these adorable Halloween-themed bowls of pumpkin soup – the ghosts were made by carefully pouring in the cream to create that unique shape.

18. Perfect Symmetry

symmetry is not just pleasing to the eye – it’s something that high-end restaurants swear by. Every plate of food that leaves the pass needs to be perfectly consistent. Building your plates of food symmetrically is all about presentation, but it will automatically raise the quality of your entire meal.

19. Creativity

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A post shared by Samantha Lee (@leesamantha)

A tried-and-true meal combination, such as meat, vegetables, and rice, can be a challenge to plate up in an attractive way. So, instead of plating a classic meal as you normally would, try to sculpt them into fun shapes and scenes. This will immediately take your presentation to a restaurant-quality level.

20. Using Molds

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Reddit Source: Reddit

Using molds can be a gamechanger and add a lot of visual interest to a dish. Take, for example, this mold that makes cornbread look just like corn on the cob. The use of wordplay and making your foods look like other ingredients makes for a delightful dining experience!

21. Edible Flowers

Adding edible flowers as a garnish is a really simple way to add a pop of color and interest to your meals. This rather brown-looking pizza was elevated to a restaurant-quality meal by adding just a few edible flowers. Next time your home-cooked meal is looking a little bland, try tossing on a few edible flowers!

22. Little Details

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Reddit Source: Reddit

Paying attention to the little details when you are cooking or baking is always sure to pay off. Sure, it requires extra effort on your part, but it will be well worth it when you see your guests’ faces light up. Pies and tarts are a great way to create show-stopping desserts because pastry is so versatile!

23. Deliberately Unbalanced

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Reddit Source: Reddit

When it comes to visually enticing, restaurant-quality food, arrangement is everything. next time you’re serving guests, try to use oversized plates and arrange the food along one side in an eye-catching way. This also works wonderfully for tarts and desserts!

24. Layering

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Reddit Source: Reddit

Try to arrange your dish in the most visually appealing way by using layers. Here, the mashed potato isn’t just scooped on, it’s smeared to draw more attention to the main event – the beef Wellington. Try to build height on the plate by layering ingredients so that they are sitting at different levels.

25. …And Good Company

With all other factors aside, the biggest one that determines whether a meal is memorable or not is probably the people you share it with. It goes without saying that the best meals are with loved ones because you will put that much more love into your cooking. So, no matter what, always cook with love.

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Source: Instagram, Reddit

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