A little flair in the kitchen goes a long way. MKR teams share their tips for injecting creativity in to your cooking.
Dessert-loving Kelsey believes colour and shape create interest on the plate. For example, if she's creating one of her delicious treats, she'll incorporate dark and white chocolate and add texture with chocolate twirls. Amanda's culinary imagination is inspired by her Nan, who died two years ago on St Patrick's Day. "I always remember Nan creating in the kitchen with a little glass of wine," Amanda says. "She encouraged us to try anything and believed in us wholeheartedly and she is always onour mind. She'd be so proud we made it on to MKR."
Damo and Caz describe their food as "simplistic with a modern twist". "We take a basic home-style meal and give it a fancy twist," Damo says. "A favourite is to take a classic cheesecake and a traditional apple crumble, and we'll blend those together to create an apple crumble cheesecake. "Don't overlook old school dishes — instead think of how you can give them a modern touch." And creativity on the plate doesn't mean it has to be an overcrowded plate, Damo adds. "An empty spot on the plate can look just as effective, if not more effective, than having food filling every available inch," he says. "And when you plate up, don't forget to look for ways of creating height. It brings another dimension to a plate and looks attractive. So, if you are serving meat and mashed potatoes, mount it. Place the meat on top of the mashed potatoes — it looks more appealing and you'll have the juice and sauce of the meat coming down through your mash."
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Mark is quick to admit that Chris has the creative upper hand. "But if I do a favourite dish like peking duck, I try different vegetables with it and I'll change the sauce. I have two kids who are aged four and five and we all know that kids can be fussy! So, sometimes when I'm cooking for them I'm creative when it comes to taking things out and adding things in — if I make a bolognese sauce I'll add in finely cut carrot so it's disguised!" Chris also likes to add some extras to standard dishes. If he cooks a chicken schnitzel, he'll add herbs and chilli flakes rather than simply relying on "boring breadcrumbs". And he puts effort into plating up and presentation. "You eat with your eyes, so serve whatever you cook on beautiful plates. Don't just throw things on the plate — be delicate. Serve it so it's a treat for the eyes," he says.