Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Sep 29, 2010 02:11 PM

How can I learn how to plate prettier?

Any sources (ideally online) for a non-artistic person to learn how to plate better?

I'm not great with plating. Always feels like the plate doesn't look as good as the food tastes! I regularly host dinner parties in my home, and I like to do a lot of different courses -- sadly, I usually end up with 5-7 courses of just the food in the center of the plate because I have no idea how to nicely arrange things or put a decorative garnish or sauce somewhere.

Anyone on CH an artistic plater? Tell me your secrets!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
    1. I would suggest you just look at some pictures of your favorite restaurants online on their websites. as they usually have photo galleries.of their menu items. If that's not possible, just look at pictures in food magazines. That should take care of placement ideas.

      The real secret of plate presentation is the way you prep the items.....beef or fish cuts, vegetable cuts and your starch. By showcasing your knife skills with food preparations, you can attractively place the cooked/prepared results onto any dis, e.g., Thinly sliced pork loin which you can fan out 3 or 4 slices, or julienne cut vegetables.

      Last, learn how to contrast the colors between your protein, vegetables and starch.

      1. For something online, you might want to try browsing through Tastespotting.

        You'll have to sift through a lot of closeup shots of the "featured item", but there are quite a few submissions that show "plated" shots .
        The upside of going there (or is that after something has caught your eye and you've figured out why you said to yourself, "That looks good" you can then click on the picture to get the recipe.

        1. Bourdain famously wrote that all you need to do pretty plating is a metal ring and a squeeze bottle.

          1. Rather than the usual "pie chart" arrangement on a round plate, divide the plate in longitudinal thirds - e.g. three 3" wide strips for a 9" diameter plate. If you place the vegetable in the middle and the meat and starch on either side, you'll have the additional benefit of automatically making the vegetable the largest portion on the plate, which is what most of us should be doing to eat more healthfully. Visually, it's more interesting because it's unexpected, and if you rotate the plate you get different looks.