These steps are going to help make an impressive. You may be trying to IMPRESS your date, or you may just want to prove to someone that you can really throw down in the kitchen. Whatever the situation is, these steps will help you.

Step 1: Table setting

first set your table very beautifully. This will make your impressive meal even more impressive than it already is.
That is a horrible looking sandwich. "Here I just whipped up a muck and sludge roll, with big mac sauce all over the falling out salad. Then I wrapped it in paper. Yes, I just love pointless non-recyclable packaging." Hehehe. I did that once. I'm too cheap to waste money on takeout, so I made bacon and egg rolls and wrapped them up and said I got them from the beach kiosk.
Looks good! Any more specific meal preparation tips?
<ul class="curly"><li>Get a signature dish or 2. Something you can fire off without thought, and flawlessly. I've got a cajun tomato cream sauce that I can make in my sleep. Any chef worth his salt has at least one dish like this. It's his knockout punch.</li><li>NEVER cook a new recipe for someone if you've not tried it yourself. The mood is set, the candles are lit, the music is playing. She looks at you, doe eyed, over her plate of.... crayfish and chocolate? Who thought this was a good idea? Rehearse dishes like the meal is a play, and only cook them for others when you can do so without the recipe.</li><li>Cook in front of the person. Most of the experience of a great meal is the smells, sights and full experience of watching it prepared. Plus, if it has complicated tactics and techniques (or alcohol flash frying) It'll make the date realize the work you're going through for their enjoyment.</li><li>PRESENTATION IS KEY. Never get any sauce on the outside of the plate. Learn to use garnishes. We eat first with our eyes, second with our noses. Our taste buds almost take a backseat to the other senses and an ugly meal never tastes as good as a pretty one.</li><li>Cook for your guest. This seems a no brainer, but you'd be amazed. Find out what your guest likes. If they like chicken, mexican, etc... I can't even begin to tell you how many people have tried to make me dinner and just made something terrible because they like how it tastes, The dinner is to impress your guest, so gear it to them. Find out what kind of wine they prefer, etc... Tailor the style of cuisine, and the food itself, to what they appreciate.</li><br/></ul>I can't believe none of these were mentioned in the original post. To me, that's what cooking to impress is all about.<br/>
Thanks! Yep, I agree on all of these.
Totally! and as a side note (yay spam!) what distro do you use? drop me a line. I'm an ubuntu nut, myself.
Fedora 5 and 8 dual booted, although now I use Leopard more
great chefs don't need measuring devices. I can eyeball a tsp, tblsp, 1/4 cup etc... with a high degree of accuracy. if you stick to measuring things constantly you miss out on customization. sometimes you just have to overdo the paprika a bit. personally, I'd substitute seasoning salt for the lemon salt.
Sub-way is a bit of a cop out. Dates don't just show up ad start eating- if you really want to impress someone, cook the meal in front of them. A bottle of wine and a nice chat can pass the time, and you can fill in potentially awkward gaps in the conversation by.....cooking. More romantic than saying "sorry, my grandma's on the phone", then going and ordering subway like some scene from a cheese-ball Ben Stiller romantic comedy.
"Just go to Sub-Way, buy a lot of sandwiches, and tell people you made these sandwiches from scratch. This is what I do sometimes." And no one figures out they are Sub-Way? It may just be me, but Sub-Way food seems fairly recognizable. You sir are either a very developed liar (no offense, of course) or have somewhat moronic friends... Somewhere between a brick and a mildly dim-witted fence-post I'd say. On the other hand, you never really told us how to "make" anything... You simply told us to buy dinnerware, cutlery and cooking utensils, then suggested some nice chain restaurants.
You mean I have to use METAL silverware?? Gawsh!
It is a start but maybe a recipe would help . Fast is not always the best getting everything on the plate at one time and in front of your guest hot is more important .change your pics to go with the steps and a recipe .....
I don't think this is a really good instructable. I will submit one this week hopefully going into actually making a meal not just ordering one.
Cool! Looks very yummy.<br/>Olive Garden.... man, that place is <em>good.</em><br/>

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