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Old 05-21-2014, 12:23 AM   #1
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Plating Suggestions?

I've been stepping out of my comfort zone for the past few years while cooking and now consider myself an average-skilled home chef. But one thing I haven't thought about until now is the plating process. Not only do I want my foods to taste good, but also look beautiful too. I don't want them to be over the top but just presentable to some of my friends when I cook for them.

I've been reading about it but haven't found any good resources. Most blogs say to "be creative" or "think outside the box", etc. The only specific advice I've heard is "there's beauty in empty space".

Anyone have any basic principals regarding plating? Or normal procedures they go through when they plate a dish?

Here's an example of my poor plating skills. It's a simple stir fry I made this afternoon.


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Old 05-21-2014, 01:00 AM   #2
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Color and contrast are important. Garnish can make a plate look finished. PS: take that plate off the floor before the dog eats it!! lol
A little spritz of soy sauce around the outside of your stir-fry will give contrast while still not over crowding the plate. A thin strip of red pepper (roasted) in the center would bring the eye to the center of the plate and the contrast will make it more appetizing. The first bite a person takes is with there eyes.
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Old 05-21-2014, 06:15 AM   #3
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Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery!

Google food plating, look at images and Utube videos of various plating techniques.

Look at the way things are done in local restaurants and on television cooking shows.

Practice your plating techniques even when you are cooking alone at home so they become second nature.

Learn to cover up your mistakes, when preparing a plate and don't become flustered when things don't go according to plan.

Buy a variety of dishes at garage sales and thrift shops to use as props for your food.

Use edible items that are in your dish for your embellishments and above all don't put a sprig of mint on your desserts, I could never understand why that is such a common practice, it makes no sense to me at all!

Good luck and have fun!
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Old 05-21-2014, 06:54 AM   #4
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Keep in mind, that the majority of pictures you see in food mags, have been arranged by food stylists and may contain non-edible props.

Personally, what I would serve to my guests would be self serve. BBQ, crawfish boil, steamed crabs, steamed shrimp and things of that sort. Rustic presentations are most welcome and appreciated.
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Old 05-21-2014, 07:07 AM   #5
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What I love about my friends cooking when I am invited to their homes is the fact that they have have worked hard, long and have done their very best to share warmth and love with people who they want to spend time with. Why am I saying this? because please, I beg of you, don't get hung up on 'Cheffy' touches like smears of this or 'quenelles' of that, or 'stacks' of something else.The chefs have a lot of help, time, tools and sometimes days to achieve the look at their disposal. Just keep it simple and neat and inviting. If you feel it looks good enough to dive right in then, it's right. Why not find the most beautiful platter and serve your vegetable selection to be passed around and shared, just leaving the 'main event' on the plate to arrange?
Of course, if you are wanting a more formal look then google 'Images of....' ( your dish) for ideas. hope this helps?
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Old 05-21-2014, 10:55 AM   #6
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Sometimes the big "food porn" sites like Tastespotting and Foodgawker can offer inspiration, although not all of their pictures will be helpful for plating. But there are some nicely plated foods on there, mixed in with the others.
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Old 05-21-2014, 09:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bachelorchef View Post
I've been stepping out of my comfort zone for the past few years while cooking and now consider myself an average-skilled home chef. But one thing I haven't thought about until now is the plating process. Not only do I want my foods to taste good, but also look beautiful too. I don't want them to be over the top but just presentable to some of my friends when I cook for them.

I've been reading about it but haven't found any good resources. Most blogs say to "be creative" or "think outside the box", etc. The only specific advice I've heard is "there's beauty in empty space".

Anyone have any basic principals regarding plating? Or normal procedures they go through when they plate a dish?

Here's an example of my poor plating skills. It's a simple stir fry I made this afternoon.

I assume you mean when you are catering for guests rather than just family meals.

My basic principal on plating is "don't". It's all very well having a set of beautiful plates of carefully placed food but if it's cold because of the time it's taken to titivate it it isn't going to be appetising. We are amateur cooks not chefs with a cohort of skivvies to run round after us. Even with cold food I don't generally plate it.

If the food is plated you run the risk of the guests forcing down something they absolutely loathe because they don't like it. If the food is put out on serving dishes they can chose what they want and leave the kale if they hate it and anything that Jack Spratt doesn't like is left on the serving dish for Mrs Spratt to have seconds from what her husband doesn't.

However, to each his own.
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Old 05-21-2014, 09:52 PM   #8
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Square plate when the dish is "round." Round plate if the dish is "square-ish." White background (not the carpet!). I have one of those "glass" cutting boards that I use as the ground for the plate.

Divide the plate (visually) so that you have sections.

If you are plating a dish that lacks colour, add some colour by not using a white plate, some lemon zest curls/radishes/baby greens/herbs/slice of an orange/edible flowers.
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Old 05-22-2014, 04:16 PM   #9
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Contrast,color & a simple garnish.
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Old 05-22-2014, 08:42 PM   #10
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I don't think about plating---- but admire chefs and home cooks who do. But one thing I've always paid attention to is color, pretty much unintentionally. Maybe because I was a novice artist back in the day. Texture is important too, but not as much as color, in my opinion.

I still remember the time when we went to a very nice restaurant that had good reviews and I was "plated" with creamed cauliflower and mashed potatoes!!!! Although the food was good, that colored (pun intended) my opinion of the restaurant and we never went back.

I briefly read the previous replies here and one person said something not plating but to serve family style. Depending on who you're cooking for (at home) that makes a lot of sense. As mentioned---- then if a person doesn't like one dish they just don't have to put it on their plate.
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