As sure as I believe there’s a heaven above, I also know that people LOVE to add a little excitement to their dinner plate! Chives are a favorite. Possibly even parsley.
Wishes for garnishes are most commonly fulfilled by slicing and twisting lemons. Or perhaps you make ribbons from carrots or turn strawberries into flowers. Often the plate can appear boring when you’re making single ingredient meal items or it’s delicious freshness may be perfect as-is, but then you go for the chives or something along those lines to sprinkle on top for presentation.
How do you know what decorations to add for the perfect plate presentation and how not to ruin it?
Sexy food styling has been low on my to-do list, but I’d like to begin to experiment more. I’ve been looking at food photos on Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration and so many of you guys are talented, artistic and so visually creative with your meals. And your presentations are usually super simple, as well as beautiful!
In my search for ideas and inspiration I found La Belle Assiette has great tips for perfect plate presentation that I’d like to try. I’ve listed some of them below, but more details and the beautiful photos can be found here on her blog.
- Choose your tableware carefully
- Use mini-dishes for sides or sauces
- Keep portions small
- Play with color contrast and symmetry
- Position your ingredients with care
- Give shape to your dishes with pastry cutters and molds
- Use a brush or pipette for applying sauce
- Use herbs, spices, edible flowers or citrus zest for decoration
I like pretty plates and bowls, or a nice place mat with a little gingham or leather border. I’ve also been noticing that the things surrounding the plate matter even more—like a sunny morning or picnic table outside. I forget about adding the pretty artifacts used as decorations at restaurants and I’ve never carved a radish, or made a shark out of a watermelon. I’m also not likely to use pastry cutters or a piping bag since I like to let things stand on their own and am more of a natural-look-cook-don’t-want-to-ruin-it kinduva girl. 🙂
Parsley is a beautiful and widely used garnish, and it’s actually a super healthy food. It seems so basic, right? But its healthful benefits are sometimes overlooked for something more enticing on the plate.
Chives are great too, and there’s nothing like the real thing. Fresh herbs have such a pure, natural and authentic taste. If you use a little mean & green to enhance your presentation, choose freshly grown. It’s always better for you!
Julia Child adds a lot of “green sprinkles” to her food, but I’m not always sure what the green is when I watch her. She is lovely to watch though and has great finesse, but if I add chimichurri sauce to my steak, it’s probably coming right off before I get a picture of it. I think wine and music are more important than the sauce or dressing anyway, but unfortunately my plate presentation sometimes lacks a punch.
If you could taste it, it becomes obvious that simple is delicious too! A beautiful presentation without fantastic flavor is not worth the effort. And who doesn’t like watching someone work the BBQ grill. There’s a lot of muscle involved in that job. A slab of ribs is gorgeous all on their own and a big messy burger right off the grill dressed up with cheese, tomato, pickles and lettuce is always a lovely sight.
I’m going to experiment with some food styling this week. I might order some new chargers or textured dinner napkins or placemats. Maybe some cut flowers from outside or cinnamon sticks. Sound fun?! I’m trying things out first as you can see by some of these photos, and I’ll let you know how the rest works. The improvements will be lovely because when you sort it all out, you’re able to let your heart lead the way!