Food Style Guide

Presentation of food is as important as flavour and can make an indelible impression on guests and enhance the overall experience considerably.

Looks Matter

Presenting food well is all part of the show that is cooking. From historical extravaganzas such as live birds that fly from a pie, to modern day garnishes with unexpected twists, food presentation is an art form. In this section, you'll have the opportunity to explore some of the more modern ways to present food.

Cooking Garlic

Top 6 Food Presentation Tips

Colour, texture, shapes and arrangements work together for the art of plate presentation. However, make sure that the food tastes good. Present it as a symbiosis between taste and aesthetics.

  • Choose plates with different shapes and sizes. Make sure that the plate holds food comfortably; giving the perfect appearance that is not too overcrowded.
  • Remember odd number of food items on a plate look better than even numbers.
  • Use plates that contrast the food colour. For instance use white plates for dark food or torte and rustic terracotta plate for food that are light in colour, like rasgullas or white pasta.
  • You need not arrange all the items in the center. Place the main part of your dish at the front of the plate. If you have different sizes of food items, place the tallest item at the back and follow it in a descending way.
  • Paint or drizzle or stripe across the plate using a sauce bottle. Use chocolate for puddings and sauces for meats.
  • Make the garnishes edible, and make sure they go with the meal. If something's on a plate, it should be edible. Adding little plastic decorations can make your meals look cute, but imaging if a diner was to bite into one!
Planning a Meal?

Planning a Meal?

Make your special meals look gourmet without the cost. Presenting your dishes beautifully is all about keeping things simple and mastering a few basics. With easy and impressive food plating and garnishing tips, you'll surprise and delight your family and guests.

Food plating is all about arranging food on an individual plate in a way that's both attractive and functional. And you don't have to be a trained chef to do it!

When thinking about how you will serve each dish of your meal to your guests, just have fun. This is an opportunity for you to show off all the hard work you just did in the kitchen. Start with these four plating basics and you'll be serving up restaurant-worthy plates in no time:

  • Serve in courses. This is not only visually impressive, but also more appetizing. It allows you to serve foods that should retain specific temperatures and flavors separately. For example, keep salads crisp by serving separately from a steaming entrée, and when it comes to flavor, keep a heavy garlic entrée away from a sweet fruit salad.
  • Select a plate suitable for each course. Allow for plenty of open space around the food on each plate, as crowded food can look messy. Don't forget to consider if there will be a need for a shallow bowl as opposed to a flat dish to allow your guests to easily soak up a sauce or dressing.
  • Practice portion control. When serving multiple courses to your guests, modest portions allow everyone to enjoy a progression of flavors without leaving you feeling bloated at the end of the meal.
  • Think about your arrangement. Take each component of your dish into account and use this as your basis for arranging each piece of food on an individual plate. For example, start with something as simple as meatloaf and potatoes. Use the gravy as a bed rather than covering up your main course. Lay the meatloaf on top of the gravy with three to five roasted potatoes off to the side. Then garnish with just a drizzle of gravy, a roasted pearl onion and some chopped parsley. Your dinner just went 5-star in a snap!
And Finally… The Garnishing!

And Finally… The Garnishing!

Simply put, a garnish should be a complementary flavor element that enhances the dish. If it isn't part of the flavor, don't use it. By incorporating an ingredient from your dish as a garnish, such as a sprig of rosemary or even chopped nuts, you're letting your guest know what flavor they can expect before they dig in.

  • For soups, use drizzles of sour cream, croutons or crumbled bacon.
  • For entrees and sides, add a light dusting of chopped herbs, herb sprigs, chopped nuts or citrus zest.
  • For a dessert, add a dusting of powdered sugar, chocolate shavings or berries.
Buffet … A

Buffet … A "Tasty" surprise!

Got a lot of friends or relatives coming over? Want to turn an average party into something really special?

A buffet is a fun twist on entertaining and lends itself to a less formal atmosphere than a traditional sit-down dinner. At a buffet, the table filled with flavourful food is the main focus. An easy way to make the table especially attractive is to create risers in varying heights. Place selected risers (e.g. sturdy boxes or a phone book) on the table to create different heights. Make sure the risers are big enough so serving platters sit steadily. Drape a tablecloth over the top and form around the risers so that the cloth won't pull when platters of food are set on top.

But don't be intimidated by such an undertaking, this little venture can turn into a delight for your guests and win you a lot of praises!


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