Plating up is a real art. Knowing how to present your delicacies the right way in a serving dish is essential to give them the right look and make them even more inviting. It should be a good rule to always do this, even when you are only cooking for your family, but it becomes even more important when you are expecting guests.
Knowing how to plate up can really make the difference and can guarantee the success of an invitation for lunch or dinner, it can even hide some inadequacies of a dish that is not perfectly executed … Or, maybe, little appreciated by one or more of the diners for a question of personal taste. Presentation allows you to divert attention just from the taste, allowing you to focus on the whole view of the dish. But how to do it with style? Let’s find out together step by step.
How to plate up? The importance of visual appearance at the table
There are many instances in which knowing how to serve your dishes can completely turn around the success of a recipe. If it is true that taste is masterful, and that the appearance of a dish is not everything it is also true that the eye wants its part and that there are some visual / cognitive connections that can divert our thoughts . In fact, it is easy for our mind to perceive as “good” a plate that is actually just “beautiful” or that, in contrast, label as “disgusting” a dish that is actually just presented badly, ugly to see.
Serve your dishes in style: here are the rules to keep in mind
After all, learning how to plate up in style is not very difficult: all dishes can be creative from desserts to savoury dishes, fresh (raw) or hot (cooked) ones. Here are some simple rules to keep in mind when starting to take the first steps in this beautiful world:
- Use dishes of different shapes and sizes. To get started, even ceramic monotone ones will do, you can find them virtually anywhere and they are cheap. They save money, but are effective
- Place food in the dishes without exaggerating the portions: the overabundant effect is always unpleasant to the eye.
- In the case of liquid food, such as soups, serve in a serving dish in the center of the table, each diner will fill his own plate and the scenographic effect is guaranteed.
- Garnish your foods with fresh spices or fresh herbs, added raw so they look brighter and especially fragrant!
- Exploit coloured salts, such as black or red salt. They do not have special properties and cost a lot, but if used sparingly they can create interesting visual contrasts!
Choose how to plate up: Which is better style or etiquette?
Little note: Old school etiquette lovers will probably turn their noses up when reading the last suggestions. And they will have their good reasons. In fact, according to etiquette, you should only serve food in the proper dish – soup bowl, dinner plate, etc. – they should always be of good quality and, if not all white, at least with white background or cream.
Don’t take this the wrong way … Such a vision is certainly in line with the highest standard of elegance, but it doesn’t go with a (more contemporary) idea of cooking that tends to blend flair with creativity.
What to do then? How to serve your own meals? Better to respect etiquette or style? What is the secret to really amazing your guests? Surely it depends on the diners.
Let me explain: opt for colorful dishes and odd forms only if you are dealing with open minded and youthful guests, regardless of their age. If you are going to serve older guests, instead, thinking of how to serve the food is not as fundamental as “where” to serve it: guaranteed! People of a certain age are very attentive to detail and, they will surely prefer a fine porcelain white plate, with a classic shape and no frills to a an extravagant shaped china dish.
Art in the kitchen: between gourmet and incredible presentation
Plating up is a real art form in the kitchen. Through combining inviting dishes with colorful plates, tableware of a certain quality and with particular finishes, you can create real artwork to please the eye. It is no coincidence that photo bloggers grew exponentially, after having learned how to present their creations, they began invading social networks such as Facebook or Instagram with delicious looking dishes.