Whenever you order a dish at a restaurant, careful thought and attention goes to planning just how that dish will arrive at your table. The way that your food is arranged on the plate, also called plating, is a deliberate art. If you’d like to learn to plate like a pro at home, it’s important to understand the elements of plating and why they matter so much.
Why Plating Matters
Plating isn’t just for show – it has a number of effects on diners. People eat with their eyes, and what they see can influence how the food tastes. The presentation of a dish immediately influences a diner’s expectations. First impressions matter, so chefs focus on creating an ideal first impression with their plating.
Great chefs can use plating to tell a story, making the food stand out so that each dish that arrives at your table makes an impact. Diners are often willing to pay more for food that’s artistically arranged, and an artistically plated dish immediately impresses diners when it’s placed at their table.
Even the dishes and plates that chefs choose carry messaging about the dish. If broth is served in a glass, rather than in a bowl, it indicates that it’s a standalone dish and gives diners clues about how it should be eaten and how it will taste. Plates also need to be appropriately sized for the food, since food that overwhelms a plate can give the impression of being hurried and may even overwhelm diners.
If you’d like to make your dishes look as impressive as those you get in a restaurant, put the following tips to use.
Use Odd Numbers
Even numbers look strange on a plate, so when you’re arranging a dish with elements like clams or scallops, opt for five or seven, rather than four or six.
Plate for the Senses
A plate has to look great, but don’t forget about the role that texture, smell, and touch all play in eating food. Try to balance all of these elements when creating and plating food. As you plate, step back and look at the big picture and how each element of the dish complements the other elements.
Choose a Brilliant White Plate
White plates make any food look better. Foods naturally appear more vibrant when placed against a white backdrop, which makes the foods look more appealing.
Determine Your Focal Point
Every dish needs a focal point, and you can then plate in a way that helps that focal point to stand out. Usually, your focal point is the protein, and other elements, like the sides, can be arranged to frame or draw attention to that protein.
Go for Height
The height of a dish will help draw attention to the focal point, so think about ways that you can build up the height as you’re plating.
Be Sensible About Garnish
Never add garnish just for the looks. Instead, pick a garnish that complements the foods in terms of taste. Only use garnish that is already included in the recipe.
Get Creative With the Plate
While a traditional, brilliant white plate will always work with your foods, sometimes it’s fun to push the limits a little and get creative with your plate. Try plating on something that isn’t a plate at all, like a cheese plate or a slate or wooden tray to make your plating look like that in a top restaurant.
Plating at Greene St. Kitchen
If you’re looking for an example of artistic plating, you only need to stop in for a meal at Greene St. Not only is Greene St. Kitchen inspired by artists, but we blur the lines between food and art with every dish. Check out how we frame steaks and lobsters with white plates and artistically placed dashes of sauce. While many of our dishes arrive on white plates, we also change things up and use plates of different shapes and colors that enhance the foods and that are just as eclectic as the Soho district.
Even our desserts are plated in ways that make them truly memorable. Our Space Invader makes one of the most memorable entrances of all of the dishes on our menu. This delectable desert touches down on your table on a spaceship-inspired platform, complete with a lid. Rolling steam created by dry ice enhances the out-of-this-world plating.
Whether you want to learn to plate like a pro or want to sit back and enjoy pro plating delivered to you, Greene St. Kitchen is the perfect place to go for some inspiration or for a delicious meal. Make your reservation today or call us at 702-489-2129.