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Mar 11, 2010 07:25 PM

Help! Questions about those beautiful classy fancy foods!

Hi there,

I've also loved those beautiful decorated foods... the big plates, small portions, but very creatively decorated. Mostly exists in fine-dining restaurants. What are those called? Culinary art? Like are there different synonyms?

I wanna try to find books about it at bookstore but i realized i didnt know what keywords to put on the search engine. Also online when im home...

I wanna learn how to cook those stuff n decorate them at home, i just love them. Where can I find techniques on how to decorate? also, u know those fancy desserts always have different textures... like lets say a cheesecake and then this piece of chocolate thingy sticking on top of it upright vertically.. how do i make those stuff? how do i make those swirl decorations made out of chocolate?

do you guys have recommended websites where i can study/view them? any sites that have a collection of beautiful fancy fine dining foods? any recommended books totally about it?

for those of you chefs who actually cook these beautiful foods, what are the top 3 things that inspire you to create new meals? why do you love doing it? where do you find ideas to arrange the "art"?


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  1. I think you're talking about "plating"? How the food is placed on a plate to attract the eye? We do, after all, eat with our eyes first.

    Check out Tastespotting for beautiful pictures:

    And there's this earlier thread about plating with a few recs - the Amazon link shows a brand new book out called "Food Presentation - Secret Techniques of Professionals" that seems like what you're asking about:

    1. Get the French Laundry Cookbook.

      1. The phenomenon seems to go in phases. For a while there was small food (entrees with no more than three bites of food, beautifully presented), then later we had tall food (slightly larger portions, chefs required architecture degrees to do the plating). Both seem to have fallen out of fashion.

        Nowadays we seem to be back to more reasonable portions, with an emphasis on drizzles, dots and dabs.

        I am speaking, of course, only of true fine dining establishments, "plating" to your average neighborhood diner means mainly keeping the food on the plate, at least until it gets to your table. ;-)

        1. There's a book called "Working the Plate - the Art of Food Presentation." It's pretty much what you seek: annotated restaurant-style platings for amateur home cooks.

          It's fairly limited, but it's a start. I'm a chef that does this sort of thing, but I'm also a visual artist and graphic designer, so the aesthetic comes rather naturally.

          Top 3 plating inspirations:

          visual aesthetic of food vis a vis intended vessel
          juxtaposition of flavors/textures for sensory impact
          nature and motion

          And I love doing it because my mother drilled it into me that I can only truly achieve happiness when I have made others happier than I. My therapist disagrees, but it's too late.