Modern plating plays a vital role in today's era of gastronomy as it represents the image of the restaurant and the quality of food being served to the guests. The very first appeal of the food is being enjoyed by the diners equally through eyes and the palate too. There are number of factors that decides the plating patterns, to name a few are as follows:
1) Selecting the right plate is the key to the attractive food presentation. Choosing the right size of the plate, choosing a contrasting plate colour which is very significant like white plate adds more contrast to the dish in comparison to others.
2) Placing your ingredients right. Another thumb rule is to keep the moist ingredients like sauces first and then place your food or accompaniments on the sides. Make sure not to overcrowd the plate.
3) Add more of the details to the plate like colors and contrast of the vegetables, meats and sauces. Use different textures to enhance the dish like crumbles, crisps, purees.
Gone are the times when the clock position is being considered to plate the food, now a days the elements have to be in proportion to size, taste, textures, appearance and the colours. Different patterns are being used to look the plate more vibrant, lively and full of colours, if need be.
Some like it a normal splash of the sauce, or a simple brush of it, monochrome pattern of the food where all food elements are in contrast with one single colour including the platter itself.
The dish should please our eyes, sense of smell, taste and touch. We must take into consideration the balance as well as texture of every small ingredient and how it plays in the composition of the plate. In addition, keep the dish simple and the golden rule applied is less is more. The prime focus should be the quality of your ingredients and execution of your techniques in cooking. Add heights, use more contrasting colours that go sync with the dish and the plate.
Different tools used are as follows:
• Brushes • Palette Knives • Deco Spoon • Icing Combs • Spoons • Squeeze Bottles • Tongs and Tweezers • Chef Knives • Peelers • Pastry Bags and Nozzles • Skewers.
Different garnishes that adds up the next level to the plate can be described in different categories.
3) Gels and Reductions
4) Puffs and Grains
6) Fresh Garnishes that include edible flowers, micro greens, red radishes, Nasturtium, Purslane, Fresh fennel, pea shoots.
Different forms of Plating may be classified as:
1) Abstract: This means to make plating like random styles, it can be splash of the sauces, or simply brushing them or may be the drops of the same.
2) Linear: Making straight or parallel lines to the main protein or vegetables gives a more elegant look on the plate.
3) Landscape: Keeping all the ingredients at one single level creates a better uniformity.
By Chef Gaurav Chawla - Food Stylist & Ted Speaker