How to Plate a Dish: 7 Easy Tips on Food Styling

How to Plate a Dish: 7 Easy Tips on Food Styling 14 Jun 2019

The look and plate presentation of your food is enhanced manifold when you let your creative juices flow with your food presentation. People eat with their eyes first. By concentrating on your food plating ideas, it simply highlights to your guests that they are indeed getting value for their money. There are really no hard and fast rules when it comes to learning the ‘correct’ food styling methods. However, there are several key concepts that should be borne in mind whilst you prepare and present your culinary creations.  

 Remember These Points Before You Start Plate Presentation

Consider the type of cuisine that you are about to serve before you start preparing your dish. Are you serving a delicate board of several cheese types or is it a classic roast chicken? Until you finalize the flavours, you cannot really think about the end goal of how you would like to style the chef style plating.

Get all your elements together, for example, a selection of low-fat cheddar cheese or perhaps go with types of healthy cheese for your appetising cheese board, before you commence with the actual process of plating. The next step is to think about your portion size. It is important that you balance your protein, carbohydrates and vegetables to create a tasty yet nutritiously balanced meal

It is a work of art on how you end up placing the ingredients and create your food styling. However, styling should never overshadow taste.

7 Modern Food Plating Techniques

To create a beautifully presented plate of food, follow these tip and tricks:

1. Pick the Ideal Plate

Choosing the correct plate to present your dish is the key to styling your food attractively. However, there are some specifics that you should be aware of. Ensure that you pick the right plate as that will act as your canvas. The size of the plate matters too. It should be big enough to allow the food to stand out yet proportionate in size to ensure that the food does not look tiny when displayed on the plate.

A complementary colour of the plate is also a significant accessory. You will find that white plates are a popular choice since they offer a neutral background and create a depth of contrast with the colours of your food.  

2. Setting Your Ingredients

As you visualise your dish, start with picturing the face of a clock. Traditionally the protein should be plated between 3 and 9 and any carbohydrate or starch between 9 and 12. Vegetables can be featured between 12 and 3.

The base ingredients should be moist or runny. Place other foods on top as an anchor. The thumb rule is to serve odd amounts of food. For example, if you are serving low-fat cheese, ensure that it is bite-sized appetizers. Emphasize on the flavour profile in creating the perfect bite which should be accompanied with some creative styling to appeal to the eyes and taste buds.

3. Pay Attention to Colour and Contrast

Colour and contrast are the two fundamentals in food styling. Paying close attention to details helps a lot. While the focus can be on the protein, see how the other elements create colour and contrast on the plate. For example, brightly coloured fruits or green vegetables are great accent points. Whatever colours you choose to put on the plate, make sure that they complement each other and enhances the visual appeal of your dish.

4. Design and Create with Sauces

Saucing your dish comes next. You can either use them to create dots on one side of the plate or lightly drizzle it on the core ingredient on the plate. Use a squeeze bottle, spoon or a paintbrush when styling the sauce on the plate. The idea is to get the sauce on every single morsel.

5. Garnish Purposefully

Garnishes on the plate should add that touch of excitement to the dish. Try and use edible garnishes that must be relatable to the main ingredient or theme of the plate of food. The flavours should be accentuated by the garnish and not act as a distraction. The placement on the plate should be purposeful. Do not add heaps of garnish in one gloomy corner of the plate. Disperse them thoughtfully so that it adds the necessary colour and texture to your food stylings.

6. Have a Spray Bottle on Standby

Add a little bit of sheen to the presentation of your dish by brushing it with a little olive oil or butter. You can also spritz small amounts of water to rev up the ingredients on the plate.

7. Add your Finishing Touch

Before you take out the plate of food to serve, add a little bit of glaze, dressing or reduction so that your greens look fresh and vibrant.

All you need to do is to learn the basics of food plating in order to present your food styling in a manner that appeals to your guests. Lastly, add a touch of oomph to your dish so that the experience tingles your guest’s visual sense.

IICA, New Delhi

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