How to create a five-star dish
HOW do you pick a winning recipe? YOU food editor Carmen Niehaus got to taste so many delicious dishes as presenter and judge on VIA channel’s TV food show Jy Het ’n Wenresep! (channel 147 on DStv), it was difficult to choose just one winning recipe per episode!
In each episode three contestants made a special dish, but only one could win the top rating of five stars. The only fair way to judge their dishes was with reliable and careful criteria. This prevented subjective judgments and ensured the best dish won every time. We had five criteria with a star awarded for each one. The winning recipe needed to offer a shortcut, be fresh and affordable, tasty, innovative and healthy.
Far right is an example of how the stars were awarded on the TV show. In this magazine the stars are indicated below each recipe title.
The dish should not require huge effort or take more than an hour to rustle up (rising, chilling and marinating times excluded). It should not have too many ingredients or steps. We don’t want to spend valuable time in the kitchen so everything, even the washing up, must be kept to a minimum. We look at the shortcuts contestants take, such as cooking the meal in only one dish or making easy sauces that do not need constant stirring.
FRESH & AFFORDABLE
Fresh, affordable ingredients are always a good thing when cooking and items in the pantry should preferably contain as few artificial ingredients as possible. The ingredients must also be easily available from most supermarkets. So ready-made pestos and spicy dukkahs score a star but not recipes packed with artificial flavour enhancers.
The dishes must be tasty and fragrant and fresh herbs are recommended. Contestants must know their flavour profiles and which flavours go together. Experimenting with flavours and seasoning is also welcomed.
The recipes must be original, innovative, updated, fresh and new, but not so foreign home cooks will find them too daunting. If the recipe is versatile and can be served in various ways, even better.
An attempt must be made to make the dish healthier. A star is awarded for lowering the sugar or butter content of a dessert, using yoghurt instead cream, adding vegetable or fruit purée to a dish or switching from puff pastry to phyllo pastry. It’s also a good idea to render as much fat from meat as possible, serve meals with fresh salads and include fruit in desserts.
RATING EXAMPLE FROM EPISODE 1