One of the most important parts of serving food is the presentation of the food. Food should appeal to one’s stomach and one’s eyes. No matter how tasty your food might be, if it is presented poorly, it can put people off of eating it. You don’t have to be a Michelin-star chef to present your food attractively. This article will tell you how you can present the dishes that you’re making in the most beautiful way possible.
Set the Table
One of the first things that you should do is to set the table properly. This means putting down a clean tablecloth, arranging the cutlery properly, and putting down placemats and coasters. A well-arranged table is going to make your meal look much better.
Select Your Plates
You must choose your plates wisely. Some professional chefs say that white plates are better, as they contrast your food positively. Plates that have patterns can draw people’s attention away from your food. You should also make sure that after plating your food, that you wipe around the edges of the plate to remove grease and excess bits of food.
Choose Your Dish Wisely
You can make more or less every meal look attractive, save for pies and messy dishes. Some dishes simply cannot be made to look wonderful. With that said, nobody is going to expect your shepherd’s pie to look beautiful! If you are arranging a fine dining menu, then you will want to avoid family-sized servings of sloppy food, potatoes, chips, and rice, as well as watery foods. Conversely, for a fine dining menu, colourful foods can look great, as can biscuits, herbs, and fruit.
As has already been mentioned, family-sized portions will not be attractive. You need to be meticulous with the portion sizes that you offer your guests. Offer single portions of meat, for example, such as a single chicken leg, one steak, etc. Do not go overboard and load your guest’s plates up.
Colour is a great way to improve your meal’s aesthetic. The specialist food photographer Jason Spoor explains on his website that he has experience in dark food photography, street food photography, and many other styles. One theme you will find in all of his photos is colour and vibrancy. This is because colour can make your food look gorgeous. When you are planning your meals, consult a colour wheel to see which colours will match with one another. If your meal’s ingredients are not vibrant enough, then whip up a sauce, vegetable puree, or salad dressing.
Many professional chefs recommend that when you are plating your food, for the sake of aesthetics, that you should plate your food from the inside out. Place everything individually, for starters, and do not allow your food to ‘roll’ onto your plate from a tray or pot. Put the main body of your food in the centre of your plate, and then gradually add around it. Working outwards with garnishes, herbs, and sauces can make your food look fantastic.
Arranging your meals into shapes and patterns can be a great way to make it look better. It is not hard to arrange your food into a pattern. If you do not have an eye for design, then browse food photographer photographs and copy their patterns and designs! Arranging your sauces into spirals, zigzags, and crosses can make your plate look 1,000,000 times better.
Getting creative with your garnishes can make your meals look much more appealing. Traditional garnishes might include cilantro and parsley, but who wants to be traditional anymore? Lemon wedges, rose petals and more unique herbs can make great garnishes. Branching out and exploring different garnishes can give your food a professional edge.
When you are designing a professional plate of food, you will need the right equipment. Tools are very important. Some tools that you need to invest in are melon ballers, chocolate shavers, plating wedges, tapered spoons, and julienne peelers. You might also want to invest in food moulds for rice, pasta, and dessert. You will also need tongs to plate your food individually if you do not want to do it by hand. If you want to add extra accessories to your plates, then you could also invest in mason jars and food holders.
Around the Clock
One of the best ways to arrange your dishes, especially if you are a beginner, is to place it ‘around the clock’. Place your carbohydrates at 11 o’clock, your vegetables at 2 o’clock, and your protein at 6 o’clock. This can also help you to regulate your portion sizes, which as has already been mentioned, is very important.
Odds Not Evens
Your food can look much more appealing if you place it on the plate in odd numbers, instead of even numbers. It’s human nature to place things on the plate in even numbers. Odd numbers are much more interesting.
The height of the food that you serve can also influence its aesthetic. A lot of chefs like to stack their food up, and that can look very good if done properly. For example, if you are serving rice, serve it moulded and then stack your vegetables and food on top of it. Don’t try to balance a chicken on there too, however. It can be very difficult to balance food if you go too high, so try to keep it within a reasonable height!
Practice Makes Perfect
Your first attempt at beautifying your dishes probably isn’t going to turn out looking like one of Gordan Ramsay’s creations. But, with that said, you shouldn’t be disheartened. Practice makes perfect, with everything in life. Food can be very unpredictable as well. If you make a mistake, then try again another time. Try not to get into the habit of obsessing over your food’s presentation in every meal that you make.
Presenting your dishes to guests, family, or friends in a ‘fine dining’ aesthetic can be very impressive. It is important to mention however, you should put as much effort into cooking your food as you do presenting it. If your food does not taste nice, it doesn’t matter how it looks!