The Sensory Aspects of Food
For beginning and intermediate cooks, here's a quick tip to help you become a better cook.
The enjoyment of food involves five primary sensory aspects - taste, texture, aroma, temperature and visual appeal. The first four are fairly obvious and most cooks pay attention to them. However, the last is often overlooked and is what separates most amatuers from the pros.
Not to say that you need give a lot of attention to fancy garnishes and such, although this is certainly a skill that most professionals have acquired and use. However, the way food looks makes a big difference in how well people enjoy eating it.
Pay attention to how your food is presented and plated. You'll be amazed at how much "better" a cook people will consider you to be.
"I’m going to break one of the rules of the trade here. I’m going to tell you some of the secrets of improvisation. Just remember — it’s always a good idea to follow the directions exactly the first time you try a recipe. But from then on, you’re on your own." - James Beard