In the wide wonderful world of gastronomy, gourmet food is the pinnacle of the fine-dining experience. Unlike simple rustic and country cuisine or convenient fast food, gourmet food pertains to dishes that showcase expensive and hard to find ingredients prepared with very precise cooking methods and elaborate equipment. Creative presentation is given much thought and effortas visual appeal is as important as the food itself especially in establishments whereprices can go as high as the sky. Fine bone china, crystal, silverware are brought toserve.With the high cost of ingredients and time-consuming and laborious preparationsentailed, gourmet dining is usually reserved for special occasions. Tableside cookingis a feature oftentimes associated with fine-dining cuisine.For experienced chefs, gourmet dining is an opportunity for them to show off theirprowess in food preparation methods and use ingredients reserved for suchmoments. Even health food connoisseurs are excited to showcase their skills fromadvance cooking techniques like sous vide (cooking food in a vacuum sealed bagover a water bath) to table side preparation methods like flambé.In home-cooking, one can attempt to create a gourmet experience with unusualbut palate- and eye-pleasing ingredients. Turn off the microwave for the day andbring out the copper pots and get ready to spend quite a bit at the delicatessenand fine food shop buying materials. Allot ample time preparing the dishes from misen place to cooking and plating.Fancy ingredients like succulent marbledmeat, fois gras (goose liver), exotic truffle oils,and exorbitantly priced items like belugacaviar and expensive wines are placedagainst a backdrop of simpler but still high-quality ingredients like garden vegetables,fresh herbs, freshly-made pasta and othercomplements. Though gourmet can also besimple, it is far from average.Gourmet meals should be an overall diningexperience whether enjoyed in a 5-starMichelin restaurant or elsewhere. Whenhaving such a fancy meal at home andalready spending much on the food, take theextra effort in other elements. For table toparrangement, bring out the best dinner andservice ware you have (or borrow if what youhave is inappropriate); have an elegant
centrepiece at the table, reception area and living room; lastly you may also wish tohire entertainment or at least have a selection of appropriate music ready tocomplete the mood.