In the art of cooking, taking care of three senses — taste, smell, and sight — is paramount, in that order. Although you cannot really separate taste and smell, the sight of a dish is something that can be repelling — even if the taste is great — if it is plated wrongly. The article discusses the basic tenets of food presentation. Read if you want people’s eyes to light up as you bring out your dish.
Any professional chef takes time to present their dishes because they know that even before the food is tasted, the eyes start judging it. The appeal or non-appeal of the food will decide whether the guest tastes it with a hopeful expectation or turns it away without even bringing it close to their tongue.
It’s not just the chefs who should care about the presentation. If you love to cook and serve people, the art of plating food is also essential along with the knowledge of ingredients, cooking methods, and combining flavors. An appealing plate of food attracts even a full stomach, not to mention how it can pique the interest of those already hungry.
Here are a few basic rules you should know:
1.The accessories for the table like cutlery, napkins, holders, etc., should complement the color of the plates. If you are not sure about the color of the plates, remember that white works for everything. You can get various steel utensils online and check out the range of interesting tableware especially designed for presentation.
2.No matter which tableware material you use — ceramic, steel, or silver — make sure it is large enough to accommodate the portion. Maintain an agreeable proportion between the size of the portion and the plate.
3.Follow the clock. Suppose the plate is a clock. Hot foods like meats should be placed at 6 o’clock and the accompaniments at 3 and 9. Cold foods like sorbets should be placed in the center, with the garnishing around it.
4.Opt for asymmetry. Place odd number of meatballs instead of even. Put the lamb chop a little away from exactly six o’clock. Garnishes should complement the color of the dish and be sprinkled in a controlled random manner.
5.The sauces should be placed last so that they don’t mess up with the rest of the food.
6.Lastly, don’t serve the plate cold because you took an hour to plate it. If plating is going to take time, keep it on a warm surface, like in a wide skillet on the stove, while you execute the elaborate decor.
One more thing you need to keep in mind is that if you try to pull last-minute experiments on guests, it might turn out a disaster unless you are sure what exactly the end result will look like. Therefore, it is always recommended to stick to conventional patterns of plating when in a fix. The rules stated above will help achieve a basic, standard presentation. Once you are confident of the rules, go ahead and break them or create your own.
Do you have a favorite plating theme? Is there a chef whose presentation skills you adore? We’d love to know.