Food presentation is an integral aspect in cooking.
With the rise of various cooking shows and culinary Youtube channels, presenting your dish and playing up its visual aesthetics have become a must. Apart from TV, Instagram has transformed itself into a platform of aesthetically pleasing food. With that said, the urge to learn how to present food like a professional chef is inevitably greater than ever.
While food presentation may not contribute much to the taste of food, visual aesthetics ensures that the food presented is good enough to eat. Cooking soothes the soul after all and plating it in a way that maximizes its visual appeal is the perfectly-placed cherry on top. If you wish your meals to look impressive, wilted leaves and accidental sauce drips simply would not do. For that extra special food flair, your plate needs to tell a story. It needs color and vibrancy. In this regard, food should not only taste good, but look good as well. After all, what good would tasty food be if it does not look presentable at all? In the worst case scenario, badly presented food might not even make it to the mouth--no matter how good it tastes. With that said, knowing how to present your dish professionally is paramount. So, whether you are entertaining guests or cooking for yourself, below is a list of tips that would ensure that your next meal would look like it came from a luxurious high-end restaurant.
1.) Set the table properly
How your table looks dictates how the meal would go. If you set it in a rush then there is a likely chance that those who eat your meal would hardly appreciate the presentation of the food. A big part of the entire dining experience is hinged on how food is presented and how they look like on your plate. For starters, you can do this by ensuring that the table is properly set. Sure, your daily meals might be somewhat of a free-for-all with members of the family taking just about any utensil they can find. However, if you are entertaining guests, elevate the meal experience by having the knives, forks and other utensils in the right places.
2.) Add a dash of color to your dishes
It has been said that aside from taste, we tend to eat our food visually. In this regard, you want to think about having a nice balance of color on the plate. For a truly spectacular looking dish, think of colors that complement each other and avoid those that clash. Look at the color wheel for reference and see which colors match well and which do not go well together. If you feel like your meal is lacking in color, add vibrancy with the use of sauces. From salad dressings to vegetable purees, sauces are an excellent cheat sheet in presentation and are also considered as a straightforward addition of texture and color.
3.) Start from inside out on the plate
When it comes to plating food, try to place every item on individually instead of putting it all at once. The former ensures that you can place the food strategically while the latter can potentially end up in spills and splashes. Begin from the middle of the plate and imagine a flower where the bulk is mostly found in the center. However, bear in mind that there should also be plenty of beauty in the petals. With that said, place the majority of the food in the center and work your way outward with garnishes and sauces to give your plate a beautiful focal point.
4.) Use a white backdrop
Sure, colored plates add vibrancy to the dish but if this is your first time in food presentation, it is recommended that you start with the most basic color: white--or a plain one at least. Plating your food on patterned china can diminish the overall beauty of the food. Moreover, it can distract from the main feature of food. While serving food on a white plate may make little swills and splashes erroneously done more obvious, they also make your dish stand out better. To get rid of accidental swills and splashes, use a kitchen paper towel to wipe around the bare edges of the plate once the food is placed on it. This technique gets rid of grease and other blots leaving your plate pristine and dish looking elegant.
5.) Have fun with shapes and patterns
While we are told never to play with our food, this is not the case when it comes to food presentation. With that said, have fun in arranging your food items in shapes or getting fancy with your sauces. You can lay your sauces in a spiral or zigzag shape that would truly elevate your plate and transform it into a piece of art. You can also try overlapping banana slices or nudging your green beans into the shape of a star if you wish to be creative. Your options are limitless so when it comes to plating your food, it is highly recommended to think out of the box.
With that said, elevate your dishes and present it aesthetically. After all, in the culinary world, food should not only taste delicious but look the part as well. Here at First Gourmet Academy, students are taught that for a dish to be exceptional, it must not only taste good, but look good as well.