4 Tips To Become An Artist In Plating

When people go out to eat at an upscale restaurant, they expect a quality dining experience. It’s not just how the food is cooked that makes a difference, but how the meal is assembled and its overall aesthetic. That’s what plating is: Creating a particular look that is visually appealing as well as sending a particular message.

If you really want to expand upon your training as a culinary graduate, then you’d do your best to learn even the basic of plating. Here are a few helpful tips to get you started:

“White plates are perfect for creating contrast.”

1. Consider the plate
As any experienced chef will tell you, proper plating begins with choosing the plate. While color is what matters most, don’t focus on bright hues. Instead, a white plate will create a proper sense of contrast with the colorful meat that sits atop.

Size is also an important consideration, as you want ample room to lay everything out. Consider the plate like a clock: Starches go at 10 o’clock, vegetables between 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock, and your proteins at 2 o’clock. This is not only visually appealing but a great way to balance out the quantities.

2. Focus on the details 
If you really want to make your dish pop, then you should always add a bit of accent color. This could be a special sauce or dripping, or even a bit of garnish on the side. No matter what, it’s something that pulls the eyes of every diner. Aside from color, there are a few other ways to help your dish truly stand out.

Some chefs opt for height, like stacking items together; this extra depth makes the whole dish more interesting. Meanwhile, some chefs go for a more minimalist approach, keeping the dish clean and simple. Then, the focus is on what matters most – the meal ahead.

3. Change your perspective 
Matt Orlando is one of several chefs at AMASS in Denmark. Speaking with the Art of Plating blog, he said more chefs should tackle the plate from the perspective of a diner. That is, consider how people eat when planning, and try to make the meal as accessible as it is visually engaging.

For one, Orlando thinks people don’t want plates that involve moving everything around; that way, they can dive right in and enjoy the meal. Planning ahead means a better, less stressful dining experience, and that can be just as important as all the pretty colors in the world.

4. Build yourself a toolkit 
Great plating is a process that requires a lot of delicate movements. As such, you’ll need a few essential tools to get the job done. An offset spatula is great for moving things and adding dollops to the plate. Squeeze bottles, meanwhile, are great for controlling the flow of your various sauces, which is handy for decoration. Some chefs even keep a paintbrush handy, which allows them to create fine details.

Finally, ample time is another major advantage. If you have the space to really mull over your plating ideas, then you’re likely to end up with a final product that will dazzle guests.

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