Want to take your meals to the next level? Work on your plating/presentation skills. Top chefs understand that people eat with their eyes before taking that first bite. Taking the time to make your meal look as wonderful as it tastes will impress family and friends and make the whole dining experience more elegant and enjoyable. Here are some food plating tips that you can use to practice the art of presentation.
Go to new heights
Try to create different levels of food on the plate, or consider a stacking technique. This usually includes a base (maybe of greens or a decorative sauce), a middle (such as a starch), and then a layer with protein. This may all be topped off with a decorative edible garnish.
Slice and fan out meat
Instead of putting a slab of meat on the plate, consider horizontally slicing the meat (against the grain) and fanning it out, maybe over some greens or asparagus. This lets you show off the quality of the meat and lets the diner know it is the perfect temperature at a glance.
Pipe out potatoes or purees
Use a frosting piping bag to give boring old mashed potatoes that decorative flair. You can also use that with other thicker purees, ricotta or other smooth, thick foods to add little rosettes or fancy dollops to your plate.
Play with colors and textures
Try to have a variety of colors and textures on the plate for the most visual appeal. There are even fun varieties of potatoes, carrots and other vegetables available in unusual colors like purple. Use some contrasting colors on the plate, and mix textures like glossy sauces, foams, leafy vegetables, etc. You can also use edible garnishes – including certain types of flowers – for a special touch.
Limit portion size
Smaller portion sizes are not only usually healthier, but they look more refined on the plate. It’s also easier and less time consuming to properly plate a smaller dish. Be sure to choose the right plates too, to highlight your beautiful meal. Pro tip: A white plate gives you a perfect blank canvas to work on.
If you’re interested in learning the proper techniques that can take your culinary skills to the next level, Park City Culinary Institute is here for you!
Whether you’d like to get your Professional Certificate in the Culinary Arts, Cuisine Certificate, or Pastry & Baking Certificate to prepare you for a culinary career or just to become a better home cook, our program is available online or on campus at our teaching kitchen in Salt Lake City. We welcome people with all experience levels. Contact us or give us a call at 801-413-2800 to learn more.