How your food is set out on the plate is known as ‘plating your food’ … Do we feast with our eyes? Yes. If it looks good and is visually appertising then we’ll want to eat it!
‘Plating‘ our food makes it more desirable and importantly, helps with portion control. We put some time into thinking about what we will put on the plate and how we make it look. Just a bit of creative thought. Save time with your garnishes by preparing them at the beginning of the week or get the kids to help and be involved.
Here are some ideas for ‘plating your food’ or styling it on the plate.
Letâs look at textures, colour, shape of the food we put on the plate, and where we look first? The focal point.
Always use edible things to garnish with. Evoke the season by choosing seasonal colours.
Arrange your food in clock formation – place the carbohydrate (rice, pasta, bread, etc.) at 11 o’clock, the protein at 2 o’clock,and the vegetables at 6 o’clock from the diners point of view. This will also help you portion correctly, if you remember that vegetables should cover about half of the plate, carbohydrate one fourth, and protein one forth.
Playing with the height of food by making some things higher than others, for example
mashed potato or rice highest with meat leaning against it or centre it and vegetables with meat over and around it.
Keep the high items at the back of the plate or make it the centre of the plate with the other produce around it. Stacking- popular where you build the food in a mound in the centre of the plate and garnish.
Thinking about the colour combinations on your plate will make it look appealing. Have something green, orange and red for example.
If everything is mashed it won’t encourage the family to finish the plate. Mix it up – some steamed, some raw, some fried or look at the shape from dicing, slicing to peels. Mix smooth textures with rough such as smooth meat with crumbled cheese or nuts on top.
Garnish with kiwi rounds, peach slices, sprinkle herbs – basil, parsley, oregano. Try cucumber balls in your salad, carrot frills using a peeler, or Spinach salsa.
- ½ bunch spinach, coarsely chopped
- 1 tsp pine nuts
- 1/2 tsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- Lemon juice
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tbs parmesan cheese, grated
Put all ingredients in a food processor and mix until smooth. Place on the plate and season with salt and pepper. Use Parmesan over it for highlight the green with the yellow. If the dish allows add squares of dry toast or dry dipping biscuits.
Saucing your plate so that it looks great. With meat put the sauce on the plate first then the meat on top. Alternatively, use a thick sauce with a small brush and sweep the plate, then lay the meat on top. Make swirls like a snail pattern. Using a sauce bottle helps to control the placement of the sauce – re-use that sauce bottle!