All dishes will appear more appetising and certainly gain more ooohhs and ahhhs if effort has been put into the presentation.
Check out these plating tips and quick decorating hacks, then test your friend’s and family’s reactions.
Don’t forget to take a photo before it’s devoured by them and tag us #westgoldnz.
Start with a plan
If you are getting really fancy you could sketch up the layout and have a practise plate.
Choosing the right dish
The colour of plate matters! It is what your masterpiece sits on. Think about whether the plate colour is natural. If your food is vibrant, perhaps white is better for it to stand out on. Also check that the dish is functional – is it easy to eat out of. This obviously depends on whether you are eating it or just photographing it!
Small portions are easy to style
We are told that the formular is no more than six elements on a dish to prevent it looking overcrowded. And while you want to serve enough to satisfy your guests, some space on your plate looks stylish and is easier to make look good.
Giving the dish height
Building a dish from the bottom up is a good technique. You can even buy those ring moulds and use them as a base, packing in some food i.e. potatoes, kumara, rice, pasta to provide the height to build on. Another way to do it is if you are plating something that has density to it, place it on the plate holding the spoon vertically. If you are placing greens – use tongs and put the food on in three additions, stacking them in a criss-cross as you add them.
It always looks great when meat is sliced horizontally and fanned out on the dish. Or go free form and lay the meat sliced on its edge or on piped potato.
The addition of sauces in sweeps or droplets, or foams if you want to get fancy, add texture and interest to a dish. Try a dollop of puree spread across the plate with the back of a spoon. Pipe the potatoes, add a leaf of lettuce or other greens or some dotted oil.
Using colours that contrast
In a perfect world these would be natural yet bold, and you can use a variety to catch the eye. Ideas are beetroot, matcha, berries or green vegetables. Select colourful ingredients for your dish; some come in a range of colours such as carrots, or beans or even cauliflower. Make that plate striking. You can also use complementary colours for your table setting.
What you use to finish your dish should be edible. This could be flowers, herbs, spices and make sure the flavour of these garnishes elevate the dish flavour verses detract. It needs to be multipurpose; look good and add to the flavour. A good tip is to garnish with an ingredient that is already in the dish.
Keep it simple & balanced
Don’t over crowd the plate, nor add a multitude of flavours. If you watch those cooking programmes so many novice chefs add too many elements and get reprimanded. You want people to taste the food you have spent time preparing. Let it be the showcase. It also makes sense to select one ingredient to highlight making sure not to clutter it.
And now the decorating hacks that will wow: