Vahe Tashjian genuinely enjoys cooking and is especially fond of creating new dishes that combine unique spice combinations along with colorful and healthy ingredients. It is no surprise to him that statistics show that more men actually like cooking when compared to women, by a whopping 82%.
While many of these men may be self-described ‘grill masters’, many are also those who love to bake bread or create flavorful chili recipes and other tail-gating recipes like Asian chicken wings. But, Vahe Tashjian believes everyone who has a favorite food, flavor, spice, or herb can create their own signature dish that is one-of-a-kind and a delicious culinary treat.
Creating Your Signature Dish
A signature dish is one is which an individual or a chef has created which is unique and authentic. A signature dish is the culinary equivalent of an artist’s style. For instance, Picasso’s signature style is Cubism while the famous Chef Gordon Ramsay’s puts a distinctive spin on his signature Beef Wellington dish.
A signature dish can be Macaroni and Cheese casserole, but it is how Gouda and Gruyère cheese take the front seat from Cheddar is what can make it a signature dish. Here are some tips Vahe Tashjian has discovered when making small changes to standard recipes that have resulted in a culinary masterpiece!
Cook with ingredients you are familiar with
Creating a signature dish does have some experimentation with it, says Vahe Tashjian, but the most successful versions will feature those ingredients that the chef is extremely familiar with. The key can be a simple substitution of a traditional spice for something new, like using smoked paprika in your Chicken Paprikash.
Take a favorite dish up a notch
Vahe Tashjian loves to make homemade soups, so how can you take an ordinary soup recipe up a notch into the signature dish hall-of-fame! Try making a cream version by adding avocado, shredded cheese, and/or sour cream or add texture to any soup by adding crumbled bacon bits or tortilla strips.
You can even create a masterpiece with your baked chicken recipe by adding feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and artichoke hearts for a Greek flair. Every ethnic cuisine has its own vault of spices, herbs, and seasonings. Explore season mixes that use African herbs and spices like bay leaves, cinnamon, cumin, ginger, and sesame seeds for a powerful flavor boost.
Make nuanced changes
Every signature dish does not have to be a complete make-over of a standard recipe. Cincinnati style chili is unique because it uses a key flavoring ingredient – cinnamon. Chicago style pizza is different because it is a super deep-dish version of a regular pizza, and Nathan’s hot dogs became the toast of Coney Island because it stuck with a certain list of toppings – meat, beanless chili with diced white onions and yellow mustard.
You can have lots of fun creating your signature dish, says Vahe Tashjian, who has made unique versions of rice bowls and lettuce wraps that are in high demand among his friends.