Cooking Tips

Garnishing and Presentation

Modern garnish is often a visual tool; A carefully thought out and well
presented dish needs little or no embellishment
Use relevant or complementary ingredients or flavours
Visualise how you want a dish to look before you start; Use garnishes,
plates, cutlery, glassware and table settings to enhance the effect
The plate size and decoration should be in proportion to the amount of food,
construction and colours in a dish
Practise constructing a dish requiring height for visual effect; Build on a
stable base - often the starch or vegetable component, and work upward
with the hero ingredient at the top
Arrangements in odd numbers can work more effectively than even numbers.
For example, three cherry tomato halves around the edge of a large circular
plate present better than four
Garnishes should always be edible (with the exemption of a scampi claw or
similar in a relevant dish)
Use dish components to garnish a meal; The colours, shapes and textures,
when artistically arranged, can negate the need for further decoration
Simplify; Complicated constructions can often detract from the overall
enjoyment of a dish - both visual effect and flavour can be compromised

Presentation is perhaps the most artistic element of a chef’s craft, and individual expression, flair and imagination are key ingredients. Like all art forms, there are ways and means to develop a personal style - a visual signature.

The way food is presented often determines the first impression of a meal. Colour, height, balance and portion size are equally important influences in our initial reaction to a dish.

The process of developing a dish and the ingredients or influences it contains, can offer a direction for presentation. Whilst the enormous white plate still holds pride of place, there is an increasing trend away from this format. The shapes and colours of plates are changing, as chefs seek to create that ‘point of difference’ in a very competitive marketplace. The use of garnish is also evolving away from the parsley sprig and twist of orange, to aesthetic constructions of deep-fried leek and dramatic-looking shards of sugar or chocolate.

Increasingly, garnish is regarded as an integral part of a dish, and can be as simple as a perfectly placed piece of chervil or a drizzle of infused oil.


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