We believe no part of eating should be boring or bleak. Far from it—each meal is an opportunity for a moment of joy, color, conversation, laughter, and abundant flavor. Food is medicine for the body, but it’s also nourishment for the soul. Not a chore, but rather, a thrice-daily chance to plug into creativity, inspiration, and wonder. And we take those things very seriously.

Chef Mike Bagale, our first Artist in Residence, shares this ethos with gusto. His love for film, texture, and global ingredients ensures that every dish he prepares is a feast for the eyes as well as the palette. As he experimented in the Sakara kitchen these last few months, using inventive, thoughtful techniques, we marveled at the artistry and wit he brought to every dish.

Here, we share four ways to punctuate your own plate with art and play. Put them to use at your next soiree—or elevate a dinner party of one.

BE FEARLESS WITH COLOR |

Periwinkle cashew-based ‘queso’? Aquamarine coconut yogurt? Quinoa dyed fuschia from beet juice? It’s all fair game. At your own supermarket, reach for the purple carrots, hot pink rhubarb, and translucent jicama. Feasting with eyes first enhances both the eating experience and kicks off the digestion process, by stimulating those critical stomach acids to absorb maximum nutrients. Not to mention, the more variety in shade, the deeper and richer the antioxidant profile.

 

LEAN INTO CHEEKY PRESENTATION |

As the inventor of the edible taffy balloon that once floated to guests at Chicago’s Alinea, Chef Mike sees things differently…and encourages us to rethink traditional plating rules. Whether it’s choosing a vase as a drinking glass or getting crafty in the way you slice and shape veggies for a crudité spread, shake it up.

 

THROW IN A “MIND-TRIP” |

A fan of playing with the senses, Chef Mike dazzled the Sakara team during tastings by compressing watermelon, and through osmosis, extracting water and infusing pure rose oil. While your mind sees a summer staple, your tastebuds arrive at a totally different conclusion. Though you may not have access to a reverse-osmosis machine, there’s still an opportunity to create clever twists for your next dinner party. Experiment with textures (top gazpacho with cubed avocado for an omega-rich, unexpected spoonful), get funky with grill marks on a bounty of farmer's market finds, or choose a rare pairing like pineapple and fresh herbs when concocting a libation.  

  

EMBRACE THE JOY FACTOR |

Bottom line: Joy is a nutrient. It frees us of inhibitions, releases blocks and stress, and scientifically helps us digest better—leaving us debloated, nourished, and gut-happy. This is that delightful s-factor that Chef Mike leans into with finesse. For our Sakara summer menu, he took the ever-beloved concept of cacio e pepe and upleveled it with sweet potato and zucchini noodles, B12-rich nutritional yeast, and rainbow saturated edible flowers. The end result is an exuberant take on the Italian classic. Follow your own tastebud instincts and explore what “joyful” twist you can lend to a nostalgic favorite. This summer, spike a spritz with Beauty Drops, find the biggest collard leaf for your BBQ sandwich, or douse fresh herbs over a hot plate of fries with friends. Make it interesting and feed your soul. Remember— there are no rules.

Filed Under: Inspirations

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