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need help picking a signature style

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Just needing suggestions on "styles" of cooking (e.g., Southwestern, Cajun... even Cape Cod) that would 1) have some spicy menus, 2) not have too many hard-to-find ingredients, and 3) be memorable for guests.

Thoughts??

Thanks! :)
post #2 of 10
you can't just "choose a signature style" it comes from eating food and making food that you enjoy. it often comes from where you've worked, family background,where you've traveled ect. for example, i'm classically french taught but do modern interpretations, i have a spanish family background so i naturally combine the 2. the spanish in me led to south american stuff i infuse in my cooking, lot of cheroulah's and chimichouris and lastly i like the new school molecular stuff so i end up doing things like scallop crudo, a broken citrus vinaigrette, and blood orange caviar with micro herbs to garnish. to make a long story short, cook what you like to eat and build on it, look at rick bayless, he had a passion for it and now he's mister mexico.
post #3 of 10
Hi Hannah,
As Natividad says - where are you from, what do you like to cook, what do you cook at home in general? What interests you if its not your normal stock-standard cooking?

I'm from a european background, lots of earthy fullsome flavours, spices too. But I reckon I crank out some great oriental style & indian flavours too. I can't say I have a signature style.

Just good flavour, fresh food. Done well, without too much fuss. I don't cook professionally anymore, just specially for family. So that sets a few "boundaries" as well. But again....flavour is king.
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #4 of 10
Specialize in Polian cuisine. It's all the rave right now.
I excel at sauteeing onions.
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I excel at sauteeing onions.
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post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hmm... I've been busy trying to figure out how to please some of my more picky guests, and I've hardly thought about what I actually like.

I like petite hors doeuvres & tea party foods... or things that would belong in a woodland retreat or a summer greenhouse. Nuts, berries, seeds... spices like whole star anise and ginger root... mint leaves or fresh chopped basil.

I grew up in the middle of the US with fresh ground whole flours, homemade yogurts and cheeses from fresh milk, fresh eggs, homegrown produce. I like whole-wheat walnut pancakes with homemade mulberry syrup... fruit pastries... whipping cream, sour cream, butter...

For a while I got into making chocolate truffles with herbs & edible flours.

(I also like an occasional grilled steak - but that's my husband's domain.)

When it comes to entrees, though, or cooking for large groups, I don't know. Entrees that I've liked include chicken korma because it is full of small surprises like cardamom pods & golden raisins... Beyond that, I'm not sure.

At least I have some more positive thoughts about this now, though, which is a good start!
post #6 of 10
I don't think you can "pick" a signature style. It's an organic process that just kind of happens as you gain experience and explore the world of food. Even if you make a decision to devote your career to a specific cuisine your "style" still develops over time within the confines of that cuisine.
post #7 of 10
Like Pete says (reading between his lines)- your style will pick you :)

Sounds like you really enjoy the desserts, so you should have no probs deciding what style there.

As for non-sweets - perhaps start with basic standard type recipes you are familiar with, get them down pat, then tweek them to suit the occasion.

Think about what you've enjoyed when you've been out to various functions/ facilities, and think how you would cope working with that for the situations you need to cater for.

If you're really keen on local fresh produce - try a rustic twist maybe. Big generous servings of well flavoured food. Lots of different herby/spicy breads..... Just a thought :)
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #8 of 10
If you cook what YOU love, your love of it will give you the parameters for quality, you'll cook it with all your ability, you'll develop it well and your guests can;t help but enjoy it. YOu have to enjoy it first though.
People say I'm a really good cook. I always tell them I love to eat - i cook to please myself.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #9 of 10
As everyone else has said: be guided by the best of what is available, and what you like to make (and will therefore be more "invested" in making--or more to the point, will have a better feel for). If you limit yourself to one style or cuisine, then you may miss out on other things that are easy and relatively inexpensive to make, not to mention really impressive to others.

The biggest joy of feeding other people is the discovery of what is out there and what can make you and others happy. It could be a great chicken, roasted perfectly, or a multistep, multiday dish that takes simple ingredients and puts them together in an unexpected way. If it tastes good, it is good.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #10 of 10
DC, you said it perfectly!
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