Making Arrangements: Plating

Many chefs cook brilliantly. Their food is tasty and perfect. For lack of time or simply because they concentrate only on the taste, the presentation of their food often has room for improvement.
People eat with their eyes. Creative plating enhances both the taste and the look of the food. If something looks good, we all tend to have a more positive attitude towards it, thus already thinking it tastes good before it’s even touched our tongue.
A very simple example will underline this.
Both pictures show the same food, prepared by the same chef at the same time and served on the same plate.
The meal is pork belly with sweetpotato-dumplings and a tomato salsa.
This picture shows the food simply served on a square plate.
The pork belly is cut and placed in a semi-symmetric fashion.
Next to the meat there are three dumplings, topped by the tomato salsa.
Looks ok but not really fancy.

The second picture shows the same meal.
It’s far less than in the first picture of course, but if you prepare a six-course meal, portions need to be smaller.
This time the tomato salsa was placed at the bottom. On top of this came a slice of dumpling, finally to be topped by a piece of pork belly.
Much more appealing, isn’t it?
But not only that. It actually also tastes better.
The food is arranged in such a way that you can scoop up each of these stacks with your fork and eat it in one single bite. This means that you have all components in your mouth in exactly the right quantity.
Eating from the first plate on the other hand, you’ll have problems getting all three components into your mouth in quantities which are balanced in such a way that none of them is too dominant.
As you can see from this example, giving some thought to arranging the food on the plate can actually have a great impact on the taste itself.

Taking some time to create a proper presentation will take your cooking to a completely new level if you do it right.
I’ll be writing a few blog-posts on this topic in future.

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