Impressive plating techniques from the experts
The art of preparing a great meal is an achievement in itself, but how about plating it like a pro? That’s a must! We want to turn you into the experts on how to plate up a perfectly-presented meal - something your dinner guests will be oh-so wowed by!
Start with the plate
As the 2 Michelin-starred chef Stefan van Sprang points out, the plate is always an important element when it comes to achieving good plating, and depending on the type of food you are going to serve, you have to know which ones to choose.
The first thing to know is to avoid those with too many patterns, as the star of the show will always be the food, and too many decorations can distract attention.
It is important to know that the important thing is the content, not the plate, and fortunately, there are several options. We have to know how to choose the most suitable plate according to the food we are going to serve.
How to place food
As in our everyday life, when we try to do several things at the same time, the result usually ends in disaster! When hosting a dinner party, our dishes are the main element.
Best practice is to keep the main ingredient as the most visible, and that the rest of the ingredients enhance the dish to help to make it more visually attractive.
The diner's attention should be drawn to the dish in general, but he/she should be able to visualise perfectly what he/she is going to eat, and not the "decorations".
You can learn how the Spanish chef cooks his dishes - Dabiz Muñoz does it in his 3 Michelin-starred DiverXO.
As Hiroki Yoshitake, the Michelin-starred chef of the Mifune restaurant in New York knows, colours always help to enhance the concept of a meal, they must be used to reach the diner, so that they understand the dish and are fascinated by it as soon as they see it.
Colourful ingredients will always make the food stand out more on the plate. However, dark colours will also offer great contrast if the food is light and monochromatic.
To give some examples, green helps to convey freshness, nature, and relaxation... while red shows passion, and effusiveness and like orange, is a colour that stimulates the appetite. Black has always represented elegance, but don't overdo it, as it can end up giving the wrong impression. Blue, on the other hand, tends to make food less appetising.
Less is more on the plate
Like the chef, Sergio Bastard, of the one Michelin-starred La Casona del Judío Restaurant (Santander, Spain) says, when it comes to plating, we must always bear in mind what we are looking for, as there are different techniques for doing so (central, rhythmic, symmetrical, asymmetrical, oblique, in scale...) but the important thing in all of them is that less is more.
The main star is always the food, all the decorations we add only have the function of enhancing it. If any element that we have added is detracts from our dish, we will be making a mistake. We must look for simplicity. A well-spread sauce or some well-cut vegetables can be enough food to give the necessary elegance.