As we all know, our appetites are stimulated with the sight and smell of food long before we actually taste anything, which is why the art of food presentation is essential to maximise the enjoyment of any meal. And it’s not just something done in high-end eateries, food plating techniques are something we should all employ daily: it helps us become mindful eaters – the ability to slow down, focus on our food and cultivate an open-minded awareness of how food affects not just our bodies, but our mental and emotional state too; it allows our food to taste better – studies show that we enjoy a meal more if it’s beautiful to the eye first; and it allows us to be creative – something many of us need more of in our lives.
While it is a creative and individualised process, there are still a few guidelines we can follow to help us perfect our particular style of food plating. According to WebstaurantStore, tips and tricks to keep in mind are:
Choosing the right plate
Think of the plate as your canvas and food as the medium; make sure it’s the right size so that your food stands out without it looking overcrowded or lost on the plate; choose a complementary colour, ‘utilise white space by thinking of the rim as your frame and consider using the rule of thirds to highlight your plate's focal point … placing the focal point of your dish to either the left or right side of the plate, rather than the centre.’
Positioning your ingredients
Plate moist or runny ingredients first, they can then be anchored by placing other foods on top of them; to create more visual appeal, serve odd numbers of an item – the diner will also feel like they’re getting more food; and don’t overcrowd your plate – ideally you should focus on one ingredient, usually the protein, and other ingredients should play a complementary role.
Paying attention to the details
Be mindful of colour and contrast, too much of the same colour and everything will look bland; create height – stacking ingredients or leaning items against each other creates depth and enhances the visual appeal; remember to use contrasting textures – smooth helps offset crunchy and vice versa; and if you’re topping your dish with a sauce, don’t just pour it over the food, instead use it effectively to complete your creation by drizzling it over the food or dotting it along one side of the plate.
And lastly, whatever you might be serving, whether it’s Halaal fish or any other Halaal certified meat dish, remember to add garnish, but make sure it’s edible, that it complements the colour and taste of the dish, and that it’s added strategically and with purpose to round off the perfect presentation – bon appétit!