What is gourmet is really fairly subjective. In general, gourmet food is food that uses the best ingredients. However, here gourmet will mean food that is of higher quality, or food that uses more refined techniques. One may create dishes similar to traditional gourmet food by following special recipes or by taking cooking lessons. However, the following ideas can also help one to make food more gourmet.
Simple dishes are increasingly respected in the culinary world, so if one uses simple techniques and fresh ingredients he or she may create more gourmet food. Using fresh ingredients and respecting their natural flavors through simple cooking is a popular trend. For instance, if one wants to create a salad, he or she may simply mix together nuts, lettuce, and a small amount of olive oil. Or one may wish to create a pizza using a basic dough with olive oil, fresh cheese, basil, and tomato without the complex sauce. Combining complementary foods like high-quality cheese with wine and fruit allows one to enjoy simple yet robust flavors.
The way that food is cooked may also make it more or less refined, so one may alter a cooking style in order to refine dishes. Rarely are fried or barbecued foods considered to be gourmet, though there are exceptions where these types of foods are considered high-quality and successfully-prepared. Instead, food that is baked, sauteed, or braised is often seen as more gourmet. This does not mean that these techniques are inherently better, but if one wants to present a traditionally gourmet meal then these types of cooking are generally preferred.
Presentation also has a lot to do with whether a dish is considered gourmet food or not. Oftentimes chefs will artfully arrange food on a plate in order to make it more appetizing. This arrangement may include special techniques and complicated side dishes, but for a home cook there are a few techniques that may come in handy. Making clean cuts when slicing food can make it more appealing. Also, combining foods with vibrant colors may make it more refined. Arranging small portions rather than piles of food can also look more appealing.