The appearance of your dishes can have a substantial effect on how people perceive them before they take their first bite. You might have a perfectly cooked, delicious meal prepared, but if it looks haphazard, it can seem less inviting and may clash with an elegant setting. If you want to win over your guests from the very first moment they lay their eyes on the food, note these tips on how to improve your plating presentation.
Cut Your Ingredients with Care
You should put care into your food’s appearance from the first steps of preparation so that you have good building blocks to work with as you proceed. Pay attention to your cutting and consider how different techniques create different looks. Do you want a meat component in thin slices or placed neatly as a singular chunk? Will you dice your vegetables, cut them into strips, or leave them whole? In addition to planning these details, you should use knives that fit your intended purpose. A quality vegetable knife, for instance, will help you achieve a great chiffonade or julienne, as opposed to a butcher knife.
Find the Right Plate
When you put in a good deal of attention to detail as you make the food, you should also remember that what it sits on is a contributing factor to its image. It’s called plating for a reason. When you choose a plate, you’re setting the base for the presentation. Usually, you’ll want to use a plate in white or a light neutral color so that the food can be the center of attention. However, you can find more freedom with the size and shape. Find a size that will give you enough space for the food, but which isn’t so large that most of the plate is left empty. You can determine shape based on both aesthetic and practical principles. Perhaps a square dish will match better with a certain dish than a round one because of how you plan to arrange the food. Alternatively, you might select a dish with higher edges if you know that your food will include a lot of sauce.
Think About Symmetry and Color
When organizing the various ingredients on the plate, there are two important things to keep in mind: symmetry and color. These will guide you in achieving an exceptionally attractive plate presentation. Symmetry refers to the food placement’s balance. You can make your dish more radially symmetrical by having the main components focused around the center of the plate. Alternatively, you could create an overall stability by placing different types of food in different areas of the plate to offset one another, similar to a traditional food arrangement.
Use color to add interest and allure to your dish. Don’t fill the whole plate with only one color; instead, put in many to play off each other. A basic example could be including a brown protein, red sauce, and pops of green garnish. As you did with the cutting, you should use the appropriate tools for this. Your hands may get in the way of your positioning of the food, but precision tongs will circumvent this issue. Squeeze bottles and brushes can also make the application of sauce and puree much more error-free as well.