I usually make my food pretty “homestyle” or “family style”…that being said sometimes it’s fun to be a bit more creative and do some plating. Food is really the only form of art that is meant to be destroyed or rather consumed to the point of no return.
Beautiful in its own destruction, now we at least photograph it, but this is a recent phenomenon. Sometimes the difference between a $15 plate opposed to a $30 plate in a restaurant is plating. I like cooking at home and I am often disappointed by the quality for price when I go out. I’ve worked at many a restaurant, and by “seeing behind the curtain” it makes you realize that many times you can get better quality at home for a fraction of the “eating out” price, no gratuity necessary. Now that isn’t to say there aren’t experiences that are worth every penny there are….but maybe you want to treat everyone and do it at home, so today I will talk about plating basics. Now I am no master of this by any means, but I ain’t bad either and working in the industry/cooking school has helped me learn a few techniques which I would like to share:
1. Don’t over portion, this is one I’m still trying to perfect. Big portions are fine for certain things, but if you want to add some flair it’s best to individualize portions, plus it helps you not over eat, hence the term “we eat with our eyes first”. Thomas Keller says that food is the tastiest in the first five bites, and he would know.
2. Keep it simple. Use good stuff and highlight what season it is.
3. Vertical lines….the eye likes em’, sketch out some ideas!
4. Height always looks good and impressive, build up not out.
Now below is the same dish as above, which is pearl couscous, sundried tomato puree, roasted squash and red onion, kalamata olives, and Marcona almonds, but all mixed together, still tastes good, but a bit less impressive, from a visual perspective.
Cooking is my art, and I feel that plating is a way to express yourself and your style. So I hope this inspired you to make your own creations! Cheers!