Haute cuisine tips & tricks

How to plate food like a master chef.

A furtively reverent look upon the dish served is a sign you hit the bull’s eye: even before the fork glides toward the plate. It really is true that you only get one chance to make a first impression. 

The fare you serve should therefore be at least as pleasing to the eye as it is delicious. The art of garnishing has only one rule: less is more. Incorporate that into your culinary creation, and you are already half-way to the professional look of your dishes. Then, follow these six simple laws of serving haute cuisine food and – voilà – the plate is ready to charm your guests.

Clean and shiny.
Clean and shiny.
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The elegant white.
The elegant white.
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Contrasting colours.
Contrasting colours.
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In place of a plate.
In place of a plate.
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Stack'em up.
Stack'em up.
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Odd numbers.
Odd numbers.
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Clean and shiny.
How to prepare a plate depends on what is on it. In some cases, the dish requires a cold serving surface, in others it goes well with a nicely warmed one. But before thinking about the temperature, see to the shine and perfect cleanliness of the plate. This simple, home-made concoction is used by even the greatest of chefs: one part water, one white vinegar. Spray the plates with it and wipe them with a clean cloth.

The elegant white.

The food you serve should play the lead role on the plate. A lavish serving surface and a shining white backdrop put the food into the spotlight, while the abundance of space offers countless possibilities for additional creativity in the garnishing. The whiteness also brings out the colours and the contrasts of the dish. In other words, in choosing elegant, large and plain white plates you can never go wrong. 

Contrasting colours.

The harmony of colours is just as important for the attractiveness of a dish as is the harmony of flavours. In decorating the food, opt for fresh vegetables, pieces of fruit, herb sprigs and topping mixtures, bright blossoms, nuts, creative sauces … Use the colours daringly, but try not to overdo it. Do not forget that moderation is a key.

In place of a plate.
Use your imagination. Let the character of the dish dictate the choice of the serving surface. From a wooden board to a ceramic platter, from a glass tray to bread bowls. The classic plate is one serving rule that should at times, for the sake of originality, be broken. 
Stack'em up.

The contoured edge of a soup or dinner plate is the boundary beyond which exploring creativity is no longer safe. Even when you are serving food on large low plates without a lip it is appropriate to set out a limited field of culinary creation. You are allowed more freedom in arranging the food in height. Pile up, stack, compose … The higher-plated ingredients liven up the character of the dish and create a more engaging visual image.

Odd numbers.

Perhaps surprisingly so, but in addition to colours, shapes and flavours, numbers, too, are important in plating food. When serving dishes composed of individual pieces, observe the rule of odd numbers. Grouping items in odd numbers makes a dish more aesthetic, interesting and attractive. 

Clean and shiny.
The elegant white.
Contrasting colours.
In place of a plate.
Stack'em up.
Odd numbers.
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