Learning how to plate food will make the food you cook (or didn't cook) look as impressive as how it tastes. Plating food is something most people may not think about, but it can make the difference between a ho-hum boring meal and a fabulous meal that is remembered. When you know how to plate food, you can show off your culinary skills as well as interject a bit of creative flair and drama to mealtime. And it's easy to do.
To plate food, you will need:
- Plates and bowls, interesting shaped plates optional
- Garnish such as lettuce, raw vegetables, parsley, spices
- Clean cloth
- Begin by choosing interesting plates and bowls. Regular round plates are fine for plating food, but if you can, invest in some square plates or plates shaped like triangles. Anything a little different will show off your cooking in a whole new way. Look for oversized dishes in white or black or another monochromatic (one color) tone that will make the food the focus.
- Choose appropriate garnishes. When you plate food, remember the garnishes. A large ruffly-edged lettuce leaf, like romaine lettuce, placed on a plate then topped with a rounded scoop of chicken salad looks more elegant than a simple pile of chicken salad. Add a couple of chunks of torn bread or neat slices leaning against the salad with sliced tomatoes on the opposite side of the plate. Select the best looking vegetables and slice them thin to fan out on the corner edge of the plate. Top a soup or stew with a sprig of parsley.
- Wipe the plate. When you plate food at a special meal, be sure to clean up the plate itself before serving it. Wipe off any splatters from sauce or juices with a clean cloth to make the plate look clean and appetizing.