Best of The Forum: Banana Bread and a Most Violent Steak

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Welcome to Best of the Forum (BotF), a series in which we highlight fascinating bits from the ongoing conversations happening among our awesome community of cooks. Let’s get to it.

Bloody brilliant

Is it just us, or does the photo above both make you want to up your cooking game and remind you of the opening theme from Dexter? This is the work of community member Lennard Yeong, whose culinary skills and plating prowess just keep getting more impressive by the day. Want to design and plate your own killer dishes? Check out this comprehensive guide from our on-staff food artist Nicholas Gavin.

Speaking of sexy plates

Forum member Rob has been killing it in the plating department as well. Forget Triscuits and cheddar cheese. When this guy gets a mid-morning hankering for a snack, he combines smoked salmon, capers, cream cheese, shallots, toast and pink Himalayan salt for a dish that would fit right in at a fancy restaurant. We like your style, Rob.

Go bananas

There’s banana bread, and then there’s the fruit-forward wonder developed by Nick Gavin. (He’s coming up a lot today, isn’t he?) It’s one of our all-time favorites, so it makes us very happy to see forum member Ethan give it the royal treatment—topping it with toasted brown butter oats, whipped mascarpone, blueberries, AND EVEN MORE BANANAS. Ready to make your own version of our Banana Bread? Be sure to stop by the forum and post a pic. We can’t wait to see what you do with the stuff.

Join ChefSteps today for amazing recipes, tons of techniques, and access to our lively forum of enthusiastic cooks.

What Cookbooks Inspire You?

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In our recent Design a Dish project, we included a list with some of our favorite books for plating inspiration. Whether we are dreaming up new textural combinations, studying a certain style of plating, or just need to look at something beautiful to get our imaginations flowing, these books always deliver with original flavor pairings and artful photography.

Of course, there are many more books in our library that inspire us for different reasons. And we also keep a lot of perhaps-less-pretty—but equally, if not more, useful—reference guides around for when we want to develop our own Melty Cheese Slices or Chewy Candy.

But now, we want to hear from you. What books inspire you most in the kitchen? What are your favorites for recipes, plating, or just pretty pictures? Leave your mini-list in the comments. We welcome your expert suggestions, and if your picks aren’t already in our library, they’ll definitely go on our shopping list.

Join the ChefSteps community to find out what ambitious cooks like you are cooking, reading, and thinking about. Plus, get the first word on all our new recipes, techniques, and events.

A Quick Announcement About Content

Camp the ChefSteps dog takes a nap.

Camp takes a quick break from a long research session.

Hello there, ChefSteps community. As you’ve likely noticed, our hard-working team of cooks, designers, writers, photographers, and musicians has settled into a pattern of delivering new content every Tuesday. This weekly schedule has allowed us to populate the site with tons of new content that, on the whole, you’ve responded to with great enthusiasm—which we appreciate greatly. We’ve been pushing hard to provide you with plenty of kitchen inspiration—from tips and tricks on how to level up your sous vide game, to a grow-your-own microgreens project and the launch of the ChefSteps Egg Calculator.

Recently, we began developing some ambitious new releases that we believe are shaping up to be among the best stuff we’ve produced yet. In the next few weeks you’ll get a thorough, behind-the-scenes account of how chefs design and plate their own dishes. Then, with the help of some of the best baristas and roasters in the biz, we’ll dig deep into the science of espresso—teaching you to pull perfect shots and make sexy latte art, among other things. After that, prepare for an epic launch of new sous vide content, featuring exclusive, essential information you won’t find anywhere else, period. Whether you’re just getting curious about this revolutionary cooking method or are looking to improve your already considerable skills, you’ll discover plenty there to enrich your sous vide experience.

But here’s the thing: Ensuring this content is the best it can be is going to require massive amounts of research, plus more photo and film shoots, writing, original graphics, and input and innovation from our kitchen than we’ve ever brought you before. Plus, we want to get better at supporting content once it has been published. So while you can continue to expect lots of new stuff from us, we will no longer be adhering to a strict weekly schedule. Stay tuned for more information, and don’t forget to explore the hundreds of recipes, techniques, and articles that currently populate the site. Get ready for some great stuff coming soon. We can’t wait to share it with you.