Skip to main content

Food Presentation

Plating Food

Food presentation  makes food look even more appetizing.

Food presentation makes food look even more appetizing.

What is Food Presentation

A delicious meal is in the eye of the beholder.

Food presentation or plating is a well known art done in restaurants, with caterers and on cruise ships. Many of these places have help that is dedicated to food presentation and plating. You probably don’t have the help to plate your meals, and just getting the cooking done may be hard enough. But now you can create amazing plating without much effort.

Food presentation is a wonderful way to make your food look more appetizing and enticing. You can turn an ordinary family meal into an eye appealing, whet your lips, gourmet looking dining experience with little effort on your part.

Cooking can take time and after a busy time who has time to do even more. But with these tips, food presentation can make a lot of difference with a little bit of effort.

Easy and Simple Food Presentation Tips

Sure you can get elaborate with food presentation, but there are also ways to make it simple, fun, and with great satisfaction.

Knowing how to cook is important for taste and to create meals that are healthy for your family and guests. But there is another aspect to serving food, and it is called plating food.

Restaurants can make any food look good by they the food is placed on the dish.

Believe it or not, food tastes better when it looks better. , because we eat with our eyes first.

Here are some tips that you can do that will not take much time but make your meal look appetizing and professional as you serve it on the table.

Start by thinking of your plate like a painting. The food is the focal point, the rim of the plate is the frame. Don’t put anything on the rim of the plate or it takes people’s eyes off of the food.

So the garnishes and other decorative items should be kept off of the rim of the plate, as a general rule.

Quick tips for attractive food presentation:

  • Use contrasting color, you can do this in a variety of ways including using herbs and spices, vegetables, and fruits.
  • Use a variety of textures.By pairing with smoother textures like sauces and glazes with foods that have coarser textures liked mashed potatoes, pasta, rice you will make the dish look visually exciting.
  • Use shapes & proportions appropriately. The focal point food component should be the largest piece of food on the plate, the accompanying side dishes and garnish should complement, not overwhelm the main course.
  • The arrangement of the food should have a natural focal point that draws your attention when you look at the dish
Scroll to Continue

Garnish Tools

Food Plating Using Fruit as a Garnish

Fruits make wonderful garnishes

Fruits make wonderful garnishes

What is a Garnish?

A garnish is generally a complementary flavor the enhances the look of the dish. If it doesn’t go with the flavor, it is best not to use it. If you use chopped nuts as a garnish, the dish should have chopped nuts as part of the ingredients. If you use a fruit such as a lemon or orange as a garnish, the main dish should be able to use the flavor on the food on the plate.

  • Garnishes are an easy and simple way to make the food look appealing A very popular garnish is parsley, but you can use almost anything that will add attractiveness to the plate.
  • By adding a little bit of fresh herbs, a lemon wedge, ingredients from the dish itself, or fresh vegetables, the ordinary becomes extraordinary. There is no one way to garnish. Use your imagination within these guidelines :
  • Everything on the plate should be edible, avoid fake flowers, shells, rinds, etc.
  • The garnish should complement the food on the plate. If it has no relation to the dish, it will confuse people. So don’t use the lemon wedge with the steak and bbq sauce.
  • The garnish works best when the flavor, texture, and the color, together with its appearance go well with the food on the plate.

Food Presentation

Food Presentation and the Rule of Odds

For soup, you can drizzle some sour cream, or croutons, or crumbled bacon, or fresh dill.

Main dishes look nice when paired with chopped herbs, or sprigs of herbs, citrus slices, or zest of fruit, or chopped nuts.

An easy way to plate pasta and make it look special, is to put an appropriate amount of pasta on the plate in a circular motion and simply put some fresh herbs on the top.

Desserts are easy to make look appetizing. When you put a piece of cake on the plate, pour some chocolate or strawberry sauce on the middle of the plate first. Dip a spoon into warm water and run the spoon along the length of the plate. Put the cake alongside the sauce and all of a sudden ordinary looks gourmet. You also can use a dusting of powdered sugar, berries, or chocolate shavings.

Another thing to keep in mind when presenting food is to not make the plate too crowded. Food should look interesting, and a too crowded plate leaves less room to be creative and make the food look neat.

When you serve a dish with cooked vegetables, forming them into special shape s can be time consuming. Sometimes the simplest thing to do is take the vegetables and put them in unique shaped dishes on the plate next to the main course .

There is something in art that is called the rule of odds. The rule means that things shown in odd numbers frame the focal point and thereby create a look of harmony and a natural composition to it.

So for example, if you are slicing a steak on top of rice, cut five slices instead of an even number like four or six. if you are serving asparagus, use three slices instead of four.

Always use fresh items, and decorate the plate with color. When you use colors like oranges, or raspberries, it makes the food pop on the plate.

Vegetable Garnishes for Food Presentation

You can slice these vegetables in a variety of ways to create a beautiful garnish to enhance food presentation

You can slice these vegetables in a variety of ways to create a beautiful garnish to enhance food presentation

Food Presentation or Plating Turns the Ordinary into Extraordinary

When you put garnishes and vegetables on the plate, don’t tamper it down, fluff it up, to give it some height. By making it look light and airy, not flat, you will give everything on the plate a more appealing look.

Have an image of what you want to create before you start so you have a better idea of what you are doing.

Another idea for placing food on the plate is to look at the plate as though it is a clock. Place the rice, pasta, or bread at 11:00. Put the vegetables at 2:00. The main dish sits at 6:00. All this is positioned from the person who is eating the meal’s point of view.

If you want to add a little artistic flair to the food presentation, slicing vegetables can make something that would be bland looking, into something eyecatching:

  • slice vegetables like carrots or zucchini into matchstick size pieces
  • crinkle slice
  • waffle cuts
  • shavings that are paper thin

These vegetables can be used in salads, casseroles, or sides of entrees.

There are other things that you can do to add to the food presentation. Using simple colored plates or linens that complement the colors of the food being served can enhance the way the food looks in subtle ways.

Food presentation is something you can do without much effort. Making the food you cooked look a bit more appetizing is what plating and food presentation is all about. So the next meal you make, keep in mind the designs you can make as you make family eating time more enjoyable.

Food Presentation

Food Presentation and Dessert


Juan J. Ramirez from El Paso, TX on April 04, 2015:

Patented "Heat Retentive Plates" keep food hot Google them. They make a difference.

Agnes on June 02, 2013:

Awesome hub! Food presentation is extremely important, and many of us forget about it. Food tastes way better, when served beautifully!

Maggie Griess from Ontario, Canada on May 29, 2013:

Good topic and good hints! Presently I am growing fresh basil, fresh dill and tiny patio cherry tomatoes...guess a lot of it will be used as garnishes! Thanks for reminding me how these simple touches elevate a meal!

livingsta from United Kingdom on May 27, 2013:

Presenting the food as you say is equally important as cooking the food, especially in restaurants. At home, we do not care about it most of the time, unless we have guests. Thank you for sharing this hub with us. Voted up and sharing!

toknowinfo (author) on May 26, 2013:

Hi Kids, Thanks for sharing your experience. You are right on every point. Thanks for visiting, I really appreciate your comments.

kidscrafts from Ottawa, Canada on May 26, 2013:

Great hub! Presentation is food for the eyes; it's an art!

There is a Thai restaurant not far from where I live and they do incredible decorations. Sometimes, when I go there, I ask to bring the decoration with me so I can enjoy it a few more days :-)

Presentation can be simple and beautiful as well but it's always a "+" when the food is well presented. For me it gives me the message that the person cares to present the food properly.

Thank you for sharing!

Related Articles