Ali Barkouras creates everything and anything. She has chosen to embrace her Southern California aesthetic and help others find their creative perspective. After constantly being approached with questions of how to source, create, and execute a project, she started Lyke Minded. Lyke Minded is versatile. From platters & planks to graphics and product styling, this interactive portfolio is original and the perfect lifestyle showcase. Although her professional career has an interior design and marketing focus, she has been executing an abundance of charcuterie boards for the like minded. “Food really inspires people (especially cheese), and that’s what I intend to do, inspire. I think the overall messaging from my work is to be yourself, to embrace your personality and be unique in everything you do. We all have a place in this world. Lyke Minded is mine.” Check out her instagram @lyke_minded Holiday Cheese + Charcuterie Tips: I ALWAYS start with the cheeses- Don’t worry so much about the expensive cheeses, go with what YOU love and layer accordingly. Lay them down on the board first. I attack color palettes. For today’s board, I went with subtle greens and burnt oranges, reds and plums because of the “holiday” vibe. This meant organic dried apricots, red grapes, figs, peppery pistachios, and an array of meats. I like to draw the eye in a triangular movement with color, try it! Curate fruits & veggies- Some fresh and edible, some for decor, maybe a few different scales. Play with shape. For example, I got mini kiwi, added baby pickles, and placed a large artichoke. All of these shapes and sizes balance well together and compliment each other. Lay your meats. Play with the way they naturally sit. Salami- either fold into 4ths, lay flat, or cut thickly from the stick. Layer prosciutto by organically placing it in “holes” on the board. Add your crackers! I always mix it up with crackers, so don’t feel like you need to stick with a regimen on this. Some days I feel like having a variety and some days I stick with one cracker that can stand its own and tastes great with my curation. Have fun with it and see what your guests like! Fill your holes with jarred jams, honey, dried fruits, and nuts. If you notice you have a salty meat next to a bitter cheese, throw some fig jam on there or a juicy honey comb. If you have a hole in between two veggies or fruits, nuts are the perfect way to separate them and still add a fun element. Garnish with special elements like pomegranate seeds, herbs, leafy greens or sprouts. Bon Appetit.