how to write a recipe

Working as a food stylist's assistant this past year and learning everything that I have, has been exhilarating and utterly exhausting all at the same time.  Coming from a photography background was a little daunting, especially since I knew I would be running into people that I have known from the biz for years, other photographers, food stylists and the rest of the freelance world in Toronto. I was afraid of the interrogations, the uncomfortable conversations, the questioning looks.  I was honestly just looking for something to inspire me again.  Don't get me wrong, I loved and still love being a photographer but I was ready for something more.  I don't consider myself a trailblazer, but have always followed my heart.  Peer pressure never really appealed to me, but I do what makes me happy, whether it makes sense to other people or not.  I have my father to thank for that.  Growing up, my dad was never really very encouraging (sorry pops),  but one thing he did always tell me was to do what made me happy.  And so, here I am :)

Fresh off of my photography career, followed by culinary school, I've been working full time as a food stylist's assistant for almost a year now.  I have learned TONNNNNES!!  I didn't know much when I first started.  Sure, I watched food stylists do their thing for years as I photographed their beautiful dishes and watched them go into magazine print, I went back to school and lived in a tv cooking show and became and educated cook, but what has transpired over this year, has become deep rooted in my psyche.   

This last few weeks were a little different from everything else that I've learned so far this year.  I was able to join my uber talented boss and get into his head a little as he created his own unique recipes.   After a year of following recipes to a T (not something I prefer to do at home but is usually very important with most food styling) developing recipes required me to process my thoughts a little differently. 

If you've ever thought of creating recipes, or even just tweaking one to suit your tastes, these are some tips that I thought were important. 

Notes on Recipe Developing:

Keep track of everything. Pay attention to everything.  If you ever want to repeat this recipe, or give it to anyone, you will thank me later!  Keep notes of how much of this or that ingredient you've used, what type of ingredient you used, how you've used it, cooking temp, oven rack position, cooking time, any little details you can jot down, even details you think are not important.  As you familiarize yourself with this process, you'll know what's important for you to remember.  AND....taste taste taste along the way.   OBVIOUSLY, making sure it's SAFE to eat.  I mean, don't taste raw chicken 5 minutes after you've put it into the oven.  Use your brain.  Pa-leeze!!   
**Disclaimer** I, Joanne Tsakos am NOT responsible for anyone who tastes raw meat/fish or any other foods that are unsafe to consume while recipe testing **  
Take any notes along the way.  Did you add too much salt? is it not spicy enough, does it need a little "something" more?  did you cook it too long?  is the texture funky?  is it yummy?  and if yummy, add more of what you've been doing!  Push the limits!!  If you don't want  to go further, stay at yummy.  This could be a good starting point if you ever want to revisit the recipe.  Test out other people's recipes, take notes on those recipes as well.  How did you feel, were they too spicy? lacking something? Use these recipes as your baseline and revisit them when you decide how you could make them more your own. 

Ok, now give it a shot and let me know how it goes!  I'll fill you in on any more tips as I keep learning!  

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