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Making a Beautiful Meal: Plating Techniques From a Pro

Published on: November 20, 2013

Height- plating

Tall and enticing
Want to impress your partner with a homemade meal? Even the finest cuisine can look unappetizing when it is carelessly slopped onto a plate. Height is an easy way to wow. People eat with the eyes first, and height creates the illusion of more food. Keep in mind that you will be moving the plate from the area you are creating it to the table, so you don't want it to be so high that it falls or tilts over in transit.


Garnish: It's not all about looks
A garnish should be a treat in and of itself. It should not be a sprig of herbs, but something that will enhance your overall dish while being able to stand alone. It should taste great before you put it on the plate, but it needs to tie into the dish and bring out the other flavors. It can be something as simple as a baked apple chip on a slice of pie or something like a mango salsa on a piece of white fish.



Seek balance
Try to find a balance on your plate, both with color and in texture, such as crunchy and soft, light and heavy. Your eyes consume the dish before it ever touches your lips, so you want to make sure it entices and excites. A good dish plated with care and forethought will taste better than an excellent dish that looks sloppy and thrown together. 

It's good to be odd
Try to use odd numbers of items on a plate. It gives the dish a focal point and lends to symmetry for the rest of the plate. For example, three scallops for an appetizer, three to five dots when using a sauce on a plated dessert, etc. 

White plates showcase the food
The plate you choose to put your food on is as important as the food. White plates with little to no design allow the food to stand out, while black or dark plates are unforgiving with smudges and fingerprints. 


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About the Author: Alison is a food lover who ventured into a culinary career via her own catering company.  She now spends her days splitting her time between culinary school (where she is currently double majoring in Baking & Pastry Arts and Culinary Arts) and her two small children.  She is hopelessly addicted to coffee and pastries, which fuel her dreams of one day owning her own French bakery.

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