But you don’t have to run a high-end restaurant to improve your food plating skills. Here are eight food presentation tips and tricks.
Just make sure that the pattern won’t distract diners from their food.
Light-coloured plates will make bold, vibrant colours pop, while darker plates will make lighter-coloured foods more visually appealing.
There are many different types of plates for food. Just make sure that the ones you choose compliment your dishes instead of taking away from them.
Play with different dish styles, too. If you’re serving stews, beef bourguignon or hot dips, use mini-casserole dishes or ramekins for a fun, interesting look.
Protein is generally the focus of the dish, but pay attention to the details of other elements in the dish that will create colour and contrast.
Colourful vegetables and greens can be used as accent points. Pairing ingredients with complementary colours will enhance the dish’s visual appeal. Sushi served on a black slate is a great example as you can see the white to black contract and the symmetrical placement of the sushi is easily achievable
Flavour bites are an often-overlooked aspect of food presentation. Flavour bites are forkfuls of food that marry all of the dish’s ingredients into one bite. These flavourful bites satisfy both the taste buds and the eyes.
Don’t overcrowd your plate. Keep it simple, and only focus on one ingredient. Creating a focal point ensures that all of the accompanying ingredients will complement that one ingredient.
But make sure that you’re garnishing purposefully. Flowers and herbs can really add to your dish presentation, but they can also take away from the meal if you’re not using them properly.
Garnishes should be related to the dish and edible. The goal is to enhance and complement the flavours of the dish and not distract from them.
Use these decorations to add colour and texture to dishes. Disperse them throughout the dish instead of heaping them in one corner of the plate.
Professional plate presentation techniques focus on the use of texture and height to draw the eye to the focal point of the dish.
Taller ingredients can also be balanced out by leaning flat, long items up against them.
Texture is another important thing to consider in professional food plating. Adding crunchy ingredients to smooth purees or soft cheeses atop steak can create appealing textures and flavours.
Using larger plates will help if you want to serve bigger portions. The extra space will provide more room for food presentation.
When guests receive their dishes, they expect to see a plate with clean edges – as if the food had magically appeared on the centre of the plate. While plating the food, you may get a few drops of sauce or crumbs along the outer edges of the plate. Use a clean towel to wipe the edges of each plate before serving. This way, guests will be more focused on the food and less on the dribbles of sauce hanging over the edge of the plate.
Instead of mindlessly pouring the sauce over the dish, be more precise. Use the tools at your disposal to strategically place sauces using squeeze bottles or paintbrushes. Create accent dots along the side of the plate, or lightly drizzle the sauce over the main ingredients to ensure guests enjoy its flavour with every bite.
You may also want to use individual sauce boats when serving certain dishes to ensure that guests can help themselves to as much or as little sauce as they’d like.