If you are a budding chef, chances are you are all about fancy celebrations – dinner parties, big get-togethers with tons of hors d’oeuvres and intimate family gatherings. No matter the exact occasion or what size party you are hosting, there is one thing you can count on to wow your audience: an excellent presentation. Add some professional touches to your dishes, and plate like a pro with these food presentation tips.
1. Use The Right Plates
If you are having a big party, you’ll probably decide to feed your guests with many rounds of appetizers instead of a meal. A large white plate makes the perfect canvass for your food. Whether you are carrying trays out or have a buffet style set up, your presentation will benefit from using big serving plates that aren’t quite stuffed to the brim. Big plates allow you to present more food while making the items look organized. Many people decide to do all finger foods to avoid choosing the right cutlery and to avoid the inevitable question, “Where do I sit in order to eat this?”
If you are serving dinner, bring out the good tableware and cutlery – and still use the same rules for your serving dishes — bigger is better!
2. Garnish Wisely
Don’t go garnish crazy. Too much garnish will accomplish the opposite of what you mean to do. The garnishes you choose should be edible. If you are using something quite fragrant, make sure it is a spice that will also be found in the dish itself. For example: A spring of parsley next to bite sized meatballs, or a few cranberries on your pastry tray.
3. Think Small Bites in Groups of Odd Numbers
If you aren’t serving dinner, or if you have an appetizer course, place a lot of small bites on your large serving dish (see tip #1!). Try to group your items in odd numbers, it is more pleasing to the eye this way (and if you have to eat an extra morsel in order to get that odd number, so be it).
4. Build Your Meal
If you are serving dinner, you want your entrée to look fabulous. Add some height to your meal to make it look more attractive — you can do this by stacking your main course atop a salad, a cooked vegetable, bed of rice, etc. Layering different textures will also help accomplish this; use a puree or sauce as a bottom layer, and another textured component before adding your final touch (the main bites of the meal to the very top). Different heights and textures will bring out the beauty in your plating.
5. Add Pops of Color
A little color can go a long way. If you have a fabulous contrasting sauce (one that actually goes with the meal or appetizer you are serving), add it in an eye-catching pattern to your plate. For instance, use a raspberry sauce underneath your plates of chocolate desserts or a green swirl of cilantro puree in your yellow Mexican squash soup.