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Blog at Chefify

What Makes A Signature Dish

Sep 20 2018 - 4:47pm
The question “what’s your signature dish?” is one that all chefs will face at some point in a culinary career. The more experienced and senior you become, the more frequently you will hear this. It’s always a good idea to have a fluid menu that you can adapt and change, but a signature dish provides an essential anchor. If your establishment is new your signature dish can even play a part in helping you to build your brand.

What is a signature dish?


Established chefs seem to have differing views on what a signature dish really is. There’s general agreement that it’s the one dish that is really “you.” However, some chefs feel that a signature dish is the one that you are the most confident in making and which has the best balance of impact and ease. Other chefs say that a signature dish is one that sums up your passions and cooking style – or it’s the most technically difficult dish you do. So, there is some room for interpretation when you’re developing your own.


What makes a great signature dish?


Simplicity – a complex signature dish can become a bit of a nightmare and may not be memorable if people can’t wrap their heads around its construction. The ideal signature dish could be innovative or classic, adventurous or creative – but simple. You know you can prepare it and you know what it’s trying to say.


A personal touch – an apple tart is just an apple tart but if you add something of your own to that apple tart then it can become your signature dish. Perhaps you add a flavour to the pastry or an unusual glaze or innovative construction. Creating a signature dish is all about showcasing something that others either haven’t thought of or can’t do.


Flavour combinations – many a signature dish has been built upon fantastic flavour combinations, which makes this a great place to start if you’re in the development phase. Make a list of the ingredients you love to use and go through a tasting process. Which combinations make sense classically and where could you add a different taste to produce something completely new?


Presentation – if this is the dish that says everything about you or your restaurant then it should be presented with pride. Great signature dishes arrive to an awed intake of breathe from the diner - take the time to factor in plate design and the best way to present the ingredients you’re using so they make the most impact.


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