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The Practical Guide to Food Prep and Plating

May 20, 2016

Julia Child said "People that love to eat are always the best people." I could not agree more! Food is life, and at its best it is a luxury. Some people wonder what the difference is...when the same ingredient can be prepared very similarly and one is considered pedestrian and one is considered art. The difference? It's all in the plating. 


The way food looks translates directly into our desire to consume it. Whether you’re a home cook or a private chef, how you plate a meal is an art form that involves a careful balance of creativity, strategy and cleanliness. These skills are helpful for non-kitchen staff know for helping out during big events, "pinch-hitting" when filling in for staff in their absence, or being cross-trained to the same standards of service as the rest of the household. 


Here are a few practical tips on how to plate food in an elegant manner: 


#1. Pick a complementary plate: The plate the food will rest on enhances or can district from the dish. More often than not, white is the preferred choice to highlight the colors, textures, and intricacies of well prepared food.  Make sure the dish is well sized for the portion provided and makes sense for the type of food to be served. 


#2. Find a focal point for the plate: More often than not, the protein is the star of the show. Showcasing this one element, other aspects of the dish, such as the accompanying vegetable or sauce, will play supporting roles to the main attraction. Plating in the center of the dish as opposed to the outsides will help the dish have a sophisticated feel. 


#3. Think about Color: A pop of color provided by a vibrant vegetable can enliven a dish that would otherwise be mono-chromatic with a grilled chicken or white fish. Sauces and purées can be made from brightly colored items and lend to enhance the flavor of the dish as well. Draw attention to the positives of a meal by juxtaposing bright accent colors with more neutral tones.


#4. Play up Texture:  The texture of food creates an immediate attraction to the eye, be it the extra-crispy skin of roast chicken, a creamy dollop of crème fraîche or a shower of chopped chives. Keep a plate visually stimulating by pairing such contrasting textures with one another. 


#5. Don't Plate Above Your Skill Level: We have all seen the "fancy style" plating techniques with foams, twirls, and swirls that can have a beginner plating a mess rather than a masterpiece! Keep it simple and classic, with enough space to not overcrowd the dish and leave the frills to the experts! 


We hope these tips have been helpful. If the staff at your luxury residence need assistance elevating their food and beverage skills we would be happy to provide the necessary training and a companion manual which outlines the specific preferences at your property. Please contact Luxury Lifestyle Logistics to schedule a complementary consulting consultation today. 



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