How you place food on the plate matters more than most people realize. Whether you are sitting at a table, standing at a cocktail party, or walking through a buffet, appropriate plating is the key making your food experience memorable or misfortunate. Lack of plate planning can cause boring dinners, appetizers that drip down your shirt, and messy buffet tables. Plating food or arranging food on the plate is where you can be the most creative, as well as make almost any food fit the occasion or situation.
There are three different aspects to consider when plating:
- The actual plate the food will be served on
- How you place the food on the plate
- The style of service (how the food will be served)
Style of service
The key is to think not only about the food you want to serve but how your guests will be eating it. You can serve your favorite recipes as main dishes or as appetizers just by re-thinking how you plate them. Serving heavy, messy foods like spaghetti and meatballs at an event where seating is limited works if you serve the pasta and meatballs in small, bite-size portions in cups so it can easily be managed and enjoyed. This is taking how you may traditionally serve food and going outside the box to create something new or approach it differently just by how it is presented.
Lastly, remember that hot food should be served hot and cold food should be served cold. This seems like a basic idea, but it’s one that often gets overlooked. Your guests will be eating the food after they appreciate its beauty, so don’t get too caught up in perfecting every detail; keep it simple and remember that the food should look naturally edible, not obscurely arranged. Warm plates in the oven before putting food on them to help keep food hot or chill the plates in the refrigerator to keep foods cool. Above all, have fun, play with your food, and use your imagination! You never know what masterpiece is waiting to be created.
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(Caprese Salad on skewers makes it easier to eat for an outdoor event)
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