I love tv programmes like Masterchef.
Professional or celebrity contestants try out their culinary skills through a number of rounds and challenges, some being eliminated week by week, until the final three remain, and the eventual winner is chosen.
They are judged by previous finalists and top critics. They work in professional kitchens and with Michelin Star Chefs.
I have a poor palate, no appreciable culinary skills – unless you count my awesome cheese and beans on toast – so why watch these kind of shows?
I love the invention of the dishes. I love the choice of ingredients. I love the presentation. I love the way the chefs – celebrity or professionals – have had to experiment with flavours, research recipes, test out their own food on relatives and friends.
When you write a scene or a character or a whole book, think like a chef.
Choose your dish. Choose your ingredients. Experiment. Test it out on those closest to you. Present your dish to the judges.
And if it doesn’t work?
Begin the process all over again. Think about the dish. Change the flavours. Alter the presentation. Test it out. Offer it up again.