Whether you are a budding chef or just want to impress some friends and family that are coming over for dinner, knowing how to plate your food will be a great skill to have. Plating is described as the art of presenting your food in an appetizing manner.
While most of us are perfectly fine with just spooning our meals into a bowl or eating directly out of a carton, special occasions call for a festive plate. After all, the enjoyment of the food starts with the eyes – We can easily tell from a glance whether a food will be delicious or not.
Plating to make your food look professional requires a special balance of creativity, technique, and artistry. In this article, I will tell you just how to present your food so that it looks beautiful and scrumptious.
Plating Tip 1: Get the correct tableware and cutlery
It always irks me when I see photos of food being served in the wrong container – take cheese for example: cheese should be served on a cheese platter, not a dinner plate or a random breadboard.
Always use the correct tableware and cutlery when serving. An example would be pastries, as they should be served on dessert plates and eaten by hand. Cakes need to be eaten using a cake fork.
Plating Tip 2: Get complementary tableware
My favourite way to serve food is to use slate table mats with clean, sparkling white ceramic dishes. I love slate table mats because they are smooth, luxurious, and easy to clean. On top of that, they add a great background for my gorgeous white plates. They frame each other beautifully.
Always make sure that your tableware matches each other. I like to play with texture and colour – my slate table mats are roughly hewn and come in a deep coal grey colour, which really makes my white ceramic dishes shine. Try to avoid loud colours and designs because it tends to be distracting when plating your food.
Plating Tip 3: Find the perfect focal point
The focal point in a dish will usually be your main dish. In culinary terms, this usually means your source of protein or your main vegetable. Arrange other ingredients around your focal point, making sure that you add the correct portion for each.
Never crowd the plate, as you will lose the focal point this way. Negative space is good.
Plating Tip 4: Mix colour and texture
Mixing colour and texture is a great way to make your food look good with little effort. Mix greens with browns, or add a splash of yellow to a red dish.
For example, take a salad, whose primary colour is green. Add some tomatoes, which are smooth and red, and some walnuts, which are brown and rough. This mix of colour and texture makes your dish look more put together.
When plating, all you need to keep in mind is that you should control all the different elements on the plate. From your slate ware, to your ceramic ware, to the actual dish itself, everything should harmonize on the table.