10 tips for plating like a pro!

Friday - 18 December 2020

Want to really sweep your guests off their feet at your next big dinner? Remember that just because flavour is king, it doesn’t mean that visuals matter any less! Here’s our advice on how to create appealing dishes that are a feast for the eyes!

1. A beautiful table

The presentation of a dish matters a great deal, but the table itself needs to look good as well! Carefully pick your tablecloth, plates, utensils, serving dishes, glasses and accessories, emphasizing solid colours. Patterns are fine, so long as they don’t distract from the star of the show: the food. Beautiful, high-quality tableware is a must, but don’t let that stop you from getting creative and thinking outside the box (serving food on a cute baking sheet, a wooden cutting board, a natural wood block, etc.).

2. Smaller portions

The smaller the portions, the more leeway you have to play with the presentation! Smaller containers (mini-ramekins, mini-dessert cups) can also look stunning. Careful, the point isn’t to starve your guests but to really refine your dish by using smaller sizes.

3. Pretty garnishes

Garnishes make all the difference! A drizzle of olive oil or balsamic reduction, a dab of pesto or cream, or a sprinkling of artichoke, roasted nuts or seeds, crumbled prosciutto, citrus zest, fresh herbs, chives, chilli peppers, microgreens, chocolate shavings, capers, croutons, fruit, you name it. It’s the little things that add that extra je ne sais quoi to your dishes, both visual and flavour-wise! Try garnishing with one of the ingredients from the recipe (parmesan, feta, cherry tomatoes, etc.) to tie the dish together.

Several M'Lord products (condiments, grilled and marinated vegetables, fruit, etc.) lend themselves well to decoration, so get inspired!

4. Have fun with moulds and cookie cutters

For jaw-dropping presentation, try shaping your food: pastry rings, tartar moulds, fun cookie cutter shapes, etc. It’s a great opportunity to get creative in the kitchen or create a theme based on the season or holiday. Moulds also make it easier to stack ingredients or plate food vertically—this kind of presentation structures the plate, gives it dimension and really helps it stand out!

5. Arranging your ingredients

The golden rule of great plating is putting the main component front and centre and giving the other ingredients a supporting role. Starting from this principle, you can then have fun and play with symmetry or asymmetry based on your desired effect.

6. A beautiful finish

Let’s be clear, it’s all about the finish! To truly stick the landing when it comes to plating, you can, for example, use an eyedropper or syringe (for creatively plating sauce our coulis), piping bags (to fill puff pastries or apply icing), a sieve (to sparingly sprinkle sugar or spices), and much more!

7. Use tongs

For precision plating and carefully arranged components, nothing’s better than tongs! You can even use tweezers to handle the most delicate ingredients (mint leaves, ground cherries, edible flowers, etc.).

8. Splashes of colour

A stunning array of colours on the plate can help your guests work up an appetite! Fruits and vegetables, coulis, powders (cinnamon, cocoa, icing sugar, etc.), condiments and garnishes are a great way to add colour. Limit yourself to five colours to make sure that your dish doesn’t clash. Give the plate even more punch by using contrasts or mixing colours and textures (foamy, crunchy, smooth, etc.). Get your guests using all their senses!

9. Clean your plates before serving

This might seem obvious, but you should never skip it if you want masterfully crafted plating. Before serving dishes, always make sure to wipe off any errant sauce, fingerprints and other marks left during assembly. A small, clean, slightly dampened cloth or a cotton swab for smaller spots will do the trick.

10. Get creative

You can draw inspiration from beautiful photographs for gorgeous plating. You can also create some outstanding food by just letting your imagination run wild. From classic presentations to avant-garde experimentation, just try things out and have fun with it! Remember that moderation can be useful. Overdosing on colours or mismatching shapes, for example, can break the appearance of unity. As the expression goes, sometimes less really is more!

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