Cook'n is the best selling recipe organizer

Volume III
October 25, 2013

Weekly Home / Cook'n & Eat'n

How to Make Your Dish Look as Good

as a Restaurant Dish

By Whitney Saupan

Have you ever noticed how at most restaurants—I mean actual sit down restaurants not fast food places—the plating is done in such a way that makes the food look ten times better than it actually is? I don't know what it is about the little details and garnishes that make food seem so much more appealing. Maybe I'm the only one thinks that, either way I decided that I wanted to know how to make my food look better. I found so many great plating and garnishing tips and I've created a small list below. Hopefully the next time you want to throw a fancy party or just make a meal special these tips will come in handy!

Plating Tips:

Plating is an important aspect of every meal. A lot of the time we are in such a rush we just pile our plates up and eat. We don't stop to appreciate the beauty of a well cooked meal. Here are some great plating tips and suggestions!

  • Use nice plates: You should use white round or square plates. Colorful or abstract dishes can be distracting. Center the food in the middle of the dish and make sure the rest of the area is cleaned. The clean area around the food creates a sort of white space that adds to the presentation of your culinary creation. You should also consider the size of plate you use. Don't use one that is too small, because then it will look like everything is squashed on the plate, but you don't want to use a huge plate because it'll make the portions look small. Find a happy medium!
  • Use color: Never underestimate the color of your food. Eating all of the same color can be boring. Try mixing it up by adding some bright colors to your dish. If you are having eggs and toast in the morning try adding some oranges and strawberries to the plate to brighten everything up!
  • Be Odd: If you are serving shrimp serve 5 instead 4. The odd number stands out and creates a more interesting dish. Also think about the height of your foods. If serving rice and chicken, make a little mound of rice that's taller than the chicken. It'll give the plate a more layered look.
  • Don't forget the garnish: A little sprig of parsley or a line of chocolate can take any dish from ho hum to yum. The details of your garnish will be appreciated. Check out the garnishing tips below!
  • Have fun and get creative: This is the most important tip. Plating isn't a science, it's an art. Let your creativity run wild! Think outside of the box. Chances are if you like the way your dish does, so will your family and friends!

Garnishing Tips:

Garnishes add that special touch to any dish. Here are some guidelines to follow when garnishing your dishes!

  • Don't use small ingredients for garnishes that are not meant to be eaten: If the garnish you choose isn't edible make sure that it's easy to tell that. It's better if the garnishes are edible though.
  • Always show off the garnish: The point of the garnish is to add emphasis and beauty to your dish. Make sure you can see it and that it stands out from the actual dish!
  • Don't use too much of one color: Garnishes emphasize things. Make sure your garnish is a different color than the actual dish!
  • Don't let the garnish steal the show: A cleverly placed garnish can add to a dish, but if used improperly it can take away from the dish. Be sure that your guests focus on the important part of the dish.
  • Nobody likes a smelly garnish: Use garnishes that complement your dish not over power it. A no-no is fresh onions.
  • Have fun with it: Just like with the plating tips, your imagination is key. Whatever you think would make a great garnish probably would, so give it a try!

  • For a few garnishing ideas, take a look at the What Vegetables Can Do or What Fruits Can Do articles from another of our newsletter writers

Whitney Saupan
Weekly Newsletter Contributer since 2013

blog comments powered by Disqus

Contribute to the Cook'n Club!

DVO would love to publish your article, prose, photography and art as well as your cooking, kitchen and nutrition tips, tricks and secrets. Visit the Newsletter Submission / Win Win for All section in our Forum for more information and details.