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6 Tips for Plating Your Dishes Like a Restaurant Chef

Food plating presentation - culinary plating - Dish Presentation Tips - Plating Your Dishes

Have you ever heard about the art of food presentation? When we have guests, we may all face an aesthetic problem: how to plate a dish to attract and please them? Check out this post on some tips to get plating your great dishes like a real restaurant chef!

Great cuisine is eaten with the mouth but also with the eyes, hence the importance of food presentation; beautifully presented plates increase your guest’s appetite. But when we are not an artist, it is sometimes difficult to get the aesthetic tricks like the great restaurants. Styling a pretty dish on a plate is not necessary easy.

Our previous article about How to draw the perfect table plan got a lot of reactions like  ”Once the table decoration is set, what about what’s inside the plates?”. From that, I used my research to discover tips for being a true Picasso of food plating presentation.
First of all, I would strongly recommend reading some solid reference books about the topic, as it would cover the basics of food styling, with plenty of illustrations and practical cases. Some of those quality readings are:

1. Imagine the final look of the plate’s presentation

As a painter in front of his canvas, or a writer looking at his blank sheet of paper, cooking is an art that requires imagination. It is therefore advised to imagine the final picture. You can even make a little drawing when time permits it. French cook Alain Passart prepares his food presentations by making various collages with paper cut outs! Yes! That’s how he thinks about plating a dish: visually, just like a fine artist.

2. Work on trimming the volumes to make a great food presentation

A dish, whether a starter, main course, or dessert, is usually composed of a staple food and has a garnish to accompany it. The easiest way to draw a pretty styled plate is to start the food presentation by filling from the center of the plate, with the help of objects of desired shape, just like working on a scaled model.

3. Drain the food from its sauce before setting up the styled plate

Whether it is the main element of your dish plating (meat or fish) or a lining that accompanies it, think about draining the pieces of food on a cloth or paper towel so that the sauce does not flood the styled plate or spill into other foods. Then dispense the sauce accurately, according to the position of the main food in the plate.

4. Work on the height or width of the plate styling

There is virtually no real rule for dressing a dish up, but it is often interesting to work food from the center of the plate base by playing on collisions and high volumes, more geometrically, with the food in harmony, while enjoying the whole surface of the plate.

5. Add splashes of color to enhance food presentation

A pretty, styled plate is also a pretty picture, a composition in color. To add touches of color in your dish, just use herbs or peppercorns.

6. Attention to details

The aesthetic details can make or break the beauty of a dish. Therefore, you can use balsamic vinegar to decorate your plate or apply a few points of the sauce to complement your composition by using a small spoon. You can try to sprinkle some colored spices like paprika or curcuma on the white areas of the plate to create a balanced and colored look.

Check these articles about the art of food presentation and  food plating utensils if you want more information.

Here are some good accessories that help professional cooks in their everyday routine concerning food plating and presentations, every item is available via Amazon.

Apr 12, 2012
Veronica Brandy
N.Y. Editor
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