“I’ve never had a problem making food look nice. But presentation has to be the final thought, not the first,” says the chef and owner of Lola. “That’s what leads to good presentation. Food should look natural.”
Symon starts every dish by creating a balance of three components: acidity, fat and salt. These lead to good flavors. Then there’s texture and the thought of how a dish will feel in the mouth. Soft on soft is a big no-no. “The most tragic dish in the world is steak and mashed potatoes,” he says. “You cut through mushy meat into mushy potatoes and then you put this whole pile of mush in your mouth. There should be texture in the dish.”
There’s a lot of crunch in his shaved root vegetable salad — a variety of beets, radishes, carrots, cucumber and red onion — that mixes with the soft texture of feta cheese and leafy herbs such as dill and mint. Every color has a flavorful purpose that makes this dish just as eye-appealing as it is palate-pleasing.