There is much more to putting together a meal than simply making great tasting food. Dining should be an experience that captivates all of the senses, which is why any good chef will go out of their way to deliver a plate that looks like a piece of art.
You start to “eat” your meal before the first forkful of food ever passes your lips. The aroma’s, the sounds from the kitchen, and the sight of the plate being delivered should all get your taste buds tingling before a bite is taken.
Let’s take a look at 5 things you should pay attention to when creating the perfect plate:
1. Color – Imagine for a moment what a piece of chicken served with white rice and cauliflower, all heaped on a white plate would look like. White and bland does not make a great plate, which is why color is essential. For example, if you are serving chicken, you can make it the focal point of the plate by adding a vegetable medley or some other splash of color to make it stand out.
2. Height – The plate on which the food is served may be flat, but that doesn’t mean the food on it should be too. Add an extra dimension to your plate by placing your protein on a bed of mashed potatoes or rice, angling it in such a way that makes the base still visible to the diners.
3. Placement – If you look at a dish served in a top restaurant, you will rarely see it laid out in the same way you would do so when serving at home. All of the elements of the dish don’t need to have their own little separate spots on the plate, which brings us back to what we spoke about in tip #2.
4. Garnish – When a meal is particularly good, you might mop everything up that is on the plate, but there is still likely to be a piece or two left over. Items such as basil, rosemary, or a lemon wedge are used not only to add another splash of color, but to also add a little bit of decoration to the finished piece.
5. Cleaning – You need to think of the outer edges of your plate as the frame for what is being presented on the plate. If you were hanging a picture in your home, would you use a frame that was covered in messy paint splashes? Of course not, so remember to wipe the rim of the plate clean before serving.
The good news for all you amateur chefs out there is that plating is not a particularly difficult technique to learn. Take a look at some pictures of professionally plated foods online and see if you can pick up some nice ideas in time for your next dinner at home. To get you started, be sure to visit Chef Penny’s Kitchen at http://www.inthekitchenwithpenny.com for more ideas.