I think it is safe to say that most of you know how much I love to cook. I probably prepare a home cooked meal five days out of seven and on the two that I am not cooking, we are either eating leftovers or dining out. So naturally I spend a good amount of time in my kitchen working with food. No, I am not a chef - I am just a mom that loves to cook awesome food for her family... but meal preparation aside, I would say that my favourite part of working with food is probably the presentation and plating at the end. This is where your efforts can truly shine.
You can spend hours preparing the most delicious meal but can wreck it in a matter of seconds when it comes time to serve it. Food presentation and plating is an art form all on its own! I spend a lot of time looking at food blogs and creative ways in which to plate or present certain dishes and I must say, it is quite startling how many seasoned cooks absolutely destroy their efforts in the kitchen because they put the food on the plate like it is a serving of slop.
When it comes to plating a meal - less is always more, and more is generally a disaster! I suppose in many ways I am blessed to have a 10 year old son because the portion sizes that he eats are perfect for food photography. I would generally eat a little more than that but even still... overloading a plate with food is NEVER going to giving you the aesthetically appealing finish that will wow your guests. I always think about it like this... they can always have seconds and by that time, the "picture perfect moment" has already been achieved, the dinner shenanigans are underway and you no longer need to worry about presentation.
Serving conservative portion sizes does not mean that your plate has to look sparse. You can build items on top of one another to give height and the perception of volume, sauces and gravy can be creatively spread on the plate to give an artistic finish as well as to make the plate appear complete.
Another thing that is really important when plating and presenting food is colour and colour balance. This is something that should be considered when planning the meal. Always try and prepare a plate of food that has two to three colours on it. It will make your dish look so much more vibrant. However, if the dish that you are preparing doesn't really allow for that - like potato salad for instance... then you can dress it up after it is completed, using anything like grated cheeses, sprouts, fresh herbs or edible flowers etc. If you don't want to add anything like that on the top of your dish then you can simply place it in a vibrantly coloured serving dish or on a decorative plate. Blue is always VERY complimentary to food, as well as other warm colours like orange and yellow.
Creating a final presentation that puts a smile on your face is not hard - it simply requires a little forethought and creative input. If you lack the creative input then just Google some ideas... I promise you, there is no shortage of ideas online.
The way I see it - if you are going to take the time and trouble to prepare a really tasty dish then it deserves to be presented beautifully. Badly plated food is like a beautiful painting shoved into an ugly frame and it is a true pity! I hope my little "lecture" gives all the Steem foodies a little more inspiration and motivation to go the extra mile with their food prep :)
Oh and yes... all the above meals and photos are mine. All of these meals have been shared on my blog at some point, so if any of them sparks your interest and you want the recipe - just shout.
Until next time...
Much Love from Cape Town, South Africa xxx
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