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Should food be artiscally displayed

What is your opinion; Should food be artiscally displayed?
Would you rather eat a melon cut in half or peeled, seeded, sliced and fanned out or one that looks like a flower?
Are you impressed by food that has been transformed into art or would you rather just keep it simple? If there was an easy way to carve potato mushrooms or tulips from a carrot, etc. easier than sliceing or diceing and with no waste would you?
Your responce would be greatly apreciated as I am gathering information to see how nterested people are in changing the way we display food..

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  1. I think food should look attractive and appetizing. I tend not to be impressed with "artistic" displays of melon carving, etc. because, frankly, who cares? I'd rather have a really well-prepared potato that just looks like a potato than a potato Taj Mahal that doesn't taste good.

    1. taste over art... although, when the display is given I am very impressed. most people enjoy something that pleases the eye. I often question others sense of taste, but crazy knife skills will always have an impact on most.

      1. I get thoroughly annoyed by artistic or architectural food presentations. Give me a nice plate of good looking (Golden brown and delicious for example) food and I'll be happy. It should look good because it's prepared properly. Not because it's 14" high and has two chives balanced on it.

        I guess I learned that from the Italian guy at work. Presentation to an Italian is a platter of sausage, a bowl of pasta and a bowl of sauce. Bread and butter on the side of course.


        1. I don't want people playing with my food. It's not an arts and crafts project.
          Well prepared food is beautiful. Let it be. A well planned menu is balanced for color and texture. What more do you need? A lovely plate. A nice table.

          There's a big difference between the clever trompe l'oeil of meringue mushrooms on a Buche de Noel or those Virtual Eggs that Michel Richard makes of tomato and mozzarella and a bunch of over-handled food carved into shapes for no reason. I don't want anybody touching my food that much.
          If you really, really have to, cut up a few display things for a catering tray, but don't make me eat them, please.

          1. I'm not one for overly-artistic food displays, ala intricate carved fruit, a melon carved to show The Last Supper. I know the Royal Thai cooking schools are very much into carved fruit/veggies, and I used to know a lady who knew how to do this very, very well. She could carve a rose out of a radish (if I'm remembering right) and while it was gorgeous, I could only enjoy it from an artistic standpoint. I certainly wasen't going to EAT what just took her an hour to carve, and destroy it.

            Make the plate clean, and keep things minimal, that is alot more appetizing to me than overly-artful food that makes me feel guilty for destrying that someone worked hard to make look "pretty".

            1 Reply
            1. re: Honeychan

              I met someone who knew how to do the Thai style carving, and as a display of skill, it's extremely impressive. She did a boat out of a cucumber. But she also set it up as a couple display pieces surrounded by food that was simply cut into pieces of munching. I thought it was a nice balance.

            2. Artistically.

              Presentation is fine, there is nothing wrong with it as long as it does not end up detracting from the quality of the food itself.

              I have been to haute cuisine places where the dish (apparently) took so long to assemble artistically that taste, hotness, and quality overall was diminished by the time it got to you.

              I have been to fancy dancy places where they stacked the loin on top of the asparagus on top of the potatoes and then did silly things with the sauce and garnishes. Now this doesn't take too long, but the co-mingling of the flavors and textures essentially ruined the food in the name of someone's idea that they wanted to imitate something they'd seen somewhere else.

              Deconstruction is the term where a chef divides the ingredients of what had been a cohesive dish (like say, clam chowda) over a plate into clams here, potatoes here, sauce here, and some croutons here -- if done right, this gives you the overall impression of eating clam chowder while looking at a plate designed differently.

              There should be another word when people put dishes together in the name of trendiness and muck it all up.

              Simplicity is a feature of good design. How many trendy restaurants have you been at (trendy, btw, is a dirty word) where they serve you:

              On a bed of arugula and steamed wilted kale, halibut stuffed with pine nuts and gorgonzola cheese and sauteed porcini en porchette with a chipotle hollandaise sauce garnished by a rosemary walnut oil and fresh sprigs of rosemary and thyme.

              These kinds of dishes are to food what rococo was to architecture; neither necessary nor desirable.

              Good design is functional, simple, and ultimately thereby elegant. Complexity can be interesting, but all too often interferes with the ultimate object: devouring good eats.

              Most of the best food in my life has not been served in fancy surroundings -- most of it has been eaten in places where the overhead was minimal and the food was hot fresh and simple. I grew up eating quail in gravy with toast for breakfast in camps in the rural south, and never knew that people served it as a fancy dish until I went to New York. Honestly, the stuff in the camps was better than the best restaurant in New York (though the original Russian Tea House remains an exception to most things). Whether it has been down home cooking or the best chinese, the surroundings have never been the point of the "show", it should remain the food.

              This goes double for artsy fartsy trendy presentation that is essentially style without substance.

              1 Reply
              1. re: fussycouple

                For instance if you have a party at home and you serve a deli platter and salads would you simple open the containers and serve it? Most likely you will roll the deli meats and put the salad in a bowl decorated with leaves like everyone else does for the last 50 years. What do think of theese displays. They were simple and took no longer than the afore mentioned.

              2. I think the discussion may have gotten muddled (or maybe it's just me) but if you are speaking about artistic displays of food (ala buffet type display) and not artistic presentations of food (ala plating of an individuals food) then I do not care for the buffet type, although I am usually impressed by what people can do with fruit carving. Another point is I don't think carved fruit lacks quality, in fact just the opposite, it's usually of a better quality.

                In regards to plating of an individuals food I think it is important. You taste with your eyes before your mouth and being able to see what goes into the make up of your dish is an added element. I am of course referring to restaurants that have chefs as opposed to cooks, i.e. Daniel as opposed to TGIFriday.

                1. presentation is one thing...simplicity, and color and layers...

                  but food for the sake of art? I'm all about food for the sake of food. something that makes you want to dig in and be sustained!

                  1. I think it depends what the context is. Of course food looks wonderful when displayed artfully and often is a great medium for art.

                    But are we in the home kitchen serving up dinner for the husband? If so, it might not be worth all that time. If we're in a restaurant serving up dishes for patrons, yes, go for it. Customers appreciate added artful touches all the time. If we're talking TOO sophisticated though....like a sculpture that took weeks to make...people might not even want to eat it!

                    So what's the context and what is the goal?

                    Once those are answered, it might be easier to provide feedback.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Chew on That

                      Context would be for everday use as well as the fancy caterer. If there was a simple method to decorate a product that complemented and highlighted the dish would you.
                      Can the way we present food to our family show them how much we care? Do they care?
                      The goal is to change the way we present food. Tired of rolled deli meats, cubed cheeses, lettuce for garnish. Im talking about quick and simple presentations that add freshness, color and appeal with little effort. It did not take any longer to decorate this salad than to decorate it with leaves. Cost was the same

                    2. I think a melon sliced and fanned out is fine, I know what a melon is, I know what it tastes like...I don't need someone to carve it into a flower to entice me to eat it. That being said I do like to have my food plated neatly at a restaurant, it adds to the appeal and it indicates a certain level of care and attention by the kitchen. Take it too far (Eiffel Tower made with mashed potatoes for instance) and the line is crossed and it's art that I'd only appreciate with sight and perhaps touch but my mouth would be wary rather than intrigued.

                      I have noticed at home (with kids ages 18mo, 3 and 6) that the more visually appealing the food is the more interested the kids are to eat it. We've started to plate salads in layers and the kids generally eat more salad than when it's just tossed in a bowl. I showed the pictures you have posted to my six year old and she was a bit wary... she wasn't sure what she was looking at was food and not play dough...but then she's only 6.

                      Thinking about how we plate salads... I'd rather see traditional methods employed in arranging food in newer ways. When I want flowers made of pineapple and grapes I'll call Edible Arrangements.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: maplesugar

                        Thanks for the input. The photos do look a little plastic.
                        If she saw the food for real she would know what it is. Thank you for the tip on Edible Arrangements. I never heard of them before. Searched them out and come to find they only sell flower bouquets made out of fresh cut fruit and they seem to be very succesful at it with over 20 stores and all the show spots they were on. Guess most people do like to eat art. You all know there hands were all over this food. Yet, it Sells.

                        1. re: teacherfood

                          I know a number of folks who have received gifts from Edible Arrangements. The overall impression that it was beautiful but the fruit did not taste good. So it pretty much sat on a table until it started to turn, then was tossed.

                      2. Food "should" not be "artistically" displayed in the sense of obligatory frou frou-ness. On the other hand, I'm a strong believer in presentation that adds to the enjoyment of what I've prepared. Good, simple, thoughtful presentation takes about the same amount of time as bad or indifferent presentation; and adds to the sensory experience of the food.

                        1. I am a KCBS Master Barbecue Judge, at a KCBS contest basically you get a maximum of 1 point for APPEARANCE, 2 points for TEXTURE and 4 points for TASTE. The entry is contained in an 8" by 8" styrofoam "clamshell" container as you might get from a takeout place.

                          For chicken, I usually see 6 to 9 pieces of chicken on a bed of lettuce and/or parsley. I score it based on how much I want to grab a piece out of the box.

                          The food is expected to look good, but since the cooks can only use the meat, green leaf lettuce, parsley and cilantro, it does NOT get too fancy.

                          1. Of course. We 'eat' with our eyes first. If it passes muster, then we judge by the rest of the senses - taste, smell, etc.

                            If in the process of making it artsy, you sacrifice the final product in some way, then it's not a good thing.

                            1. For me, I like for my food to excite as many of my senses as possible: good texture (tactile), great aroma (olfactory), fill the needs/desires of my taste buds (taste) and look great (visual). Now, auditory does get a short shrift, but if the steak has some “sizzle,” then we’re home free.

                              I’ve had freeze-dried camping food, that did not taste too bad, and probably contained most of the USDA recommended levels for many things. However, it was grey and had a texture of lumpy Pablum. This is not food that I’d enjoy, except to sustain life on a 20 day trek.

                              That being said, I’ve had food that filled some of the above, but fell short in the aroma/taste department, so I would not choose “beautiful,” over tasty.

                              One thing that I resent is a restaurant that is so dark, that one needs a powerful LED flashlight, just to see the dish(s) being served. If the place is that dark, I wonder what they’re trying to coverup.


                              [EDIT] After reading all of the threads, I may have missed the point that the OP offered. I was thinking artful presentation, not the creation of art, from food, solely for the sake of art. If that was the intent of the OP's to relate entirely to the art aspect of presentation, then kindly ignore my post.