Check out this week’s roundup of five essential plating tips from chefs all around the world.
Christian Gadient, Spontan
“Throughout the meal, I like to offer different types of plating, so I can keep my guests surprised. Sometimes we hide something on the plate, and sometimes we open up the dish a little bit more. It’s very important for me that the textures and elements we show to our guests look simple, sharp, and natural at the same time.
For example, the Kalix Løjrom dish – we plate open. So when the dish arrives at the table, the guest can see straight away all the different textures and flavors. This is because that is what the guest should focus on first – the textures. So while they eat the dish, they will get the pure flavor experience of each ingredient on the plate.
On the Tonka Bean dessert – we show one element, and that is the crispy milk. We only want to show the guest the crispy element, so they don’t really know what to expect underneath. And there we add some other textures and flavors to play a little bit with the unexpected.”
Kalix Løjrom (Bleek Roe) mixed with confit egg yolk, pickled tapioca pearls, burnt pearl onions, burnt chive oil and nasturtiums, and hay burnt mussel bouillon by Christian Gadient of SPONTAN, Copenhagen. Photo courtesy of Kasper Ledet.
Enrique Olvera, Pujol
“Things done well are beautiful. When you produce good food, it doesn’t need outstanding or pretentious presentations. Don’t lose the power of your food by over-polishing it. The excellence is not on the plating, but in the flavors.”
Pecan tamale and sour cream by Enrique Olvera of Pujol. Photo courtesy of Araceli Paz.
Martin Benn, Sepia
“1. I liken plating a dish to ikebana (a discipline of the Japanese art of flower arranging that employs minimalism), a sole expression of one, and most importantly, the space around the food.
2. To show and understand minimalism and how to use it effectively, it must be complex enough in its simplicity and let everything work together in harmony.
3. Keeping within the boundaries of minimalism, I like to have one element of surprise and not reveal all components.”
Wagyu and mushroom glass by Martin Benn of Sepia. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Soo.
Abram Bissell, The Modern
“1. Plating on the same surface the guests eat on and in the same lighting will give you that mimicked experience. We put white linen on all the passes and have LED lights that replicate sunlight in our kitchen.
2. Work clean. The cleaner your station is, the cleaner you’re working, and the cleaner the finished plating is.
3. Use the right tool.”
Poached egg with cucumber, smoked salmon and dill by Abram Bissell of The Modern, NYC. Photo courtesy of Evan Sung.
Dan Graham, Pidgin
“1. Think about how the customer is going to eat the food based on the way you put it on the plate, how each element comes together.
2. Consider the importance of leaving space on the plate.
3. Have an understanding of geometry on the plate, like dividing the plate into quadrants.
4. Understanding that random isn’t random. When chefs try to plate randomly it looks really forced. If you study randomness, you see that there are little patterns.
5. You need to understand the character of the dish.”
Celeriac, gjetost (goat’s cheese), Milanese dill celery by Dan Graham of Pidgin. Photo courtesy of Mónica R. Goya.