Ask the expert: Top plating techniques


How can I make my dishes look restaurant-worthy? No matter what I do, I can’t plate my dinners nicely. I have a dinner party and would love some tips on plating. 

Answer from Big Jim’s:

How you plate and present your food greatly impacts your guest’s experience. I like to keep it simple, but senses are a funny thing. The better something looks, the better it’s going to taste.

1. Create height on the plate: Stack ingredients or use culinary supports like ring molds to create vertical elements that catch the eye.

2. Play with textures: Combine crispy, creamy, crunchy and smooth elements to create a well-balanced and enticing dish.

3. Use contrasting colors: Consider the color wheel and choose complementary or contrasting hues to create vibrant and appealing presentations.

4. Choose the right plates: Consider the shape, size and color of the plate to enhance the overall visual appeal. Remember, the plate is your canvas. 

5. Serve smaller portions (very difficult for me): While it may be challenging, strive to serve smaller portions to maintain a visually appealing balance on the plate. Focus on quality rather than quantity, allowing the flavors and presentation to shine.

6. Use edible garnishes and decorations: Fresh herbs, fruits, microgreens, edible flowers or delicate sauces can add a pop of color and a touch of elegance to your creation.

7. But my main thought: When in doubt, keep it simple.

— Patrick Blankenship, Big Jim’s

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