How To: Plate Like the Pros
Part of the luxury of eating out is the presentation of the meals. We might prepare the same dishes at home, but the experience is far from that at a restaurant. The first thing we notice about food as it arrives is how it looks, triggering us to imagine the taste before we take our first bite!
Here are a few simple steps to give your home cooked meals a restaurant-quality styling.
1. Choose simple dishes. Have you ever noticed the plates on “Top Chef” or “Iron Chef America”? Most of them are white, simple and with little or no design. This allows the colors, shapes and textures of your food to stand out.
2. Make sure your plate is the right size. If it’s too large, it will look like you don’t have enough. If it’s too small your food will seem crowded. Invest in a variety of platters that highlight your favorite foods to prepare — long and skinny, oval or small dishes that fit together.
3. Make one ingredient or food the star of the dish. What aspect of the dish do you want your guests to delight in most? Put that center-stage. Carefully surround with sides or stack with accompanying ingredients, keeping in mind that your guest should be able to spot the star as soon as they are served. Want to highlight several aspects of the dish? Portion them out in small, even servings so each are highlighted equally.
4. Play with your food. What colors and textures are in your meal? A beautiful grilled, pink salmon looks mouth-watering next to leafy greens and a wedge of lemon. To add color and texture, use a garnish with flavors that complement the dish. Get creative with sauces by squeezing them from a bottle for a precise design rather than ladling or mixing them in.
5. Examine the meal one last time. Will anything move around while you’re serving it? If so, find a way to stabilize it. Keep your plates clean. Wipe away any extra sauce and readjust the garnish. Based on appearances, would you devour what you are serving? If so, your guests will do the same.
- Anna Malone
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