The Art of Plating Trends for 2018

Maria Nguyen

What will plates look like in 2018? We’ve been paying close attention to what the best restaurants and chefs have been dishing out all year long — and we have one word: precision. Read on to see our The Art of Plating forecast to see what trends will shape the plates of 2018.


Power in Precision

It’s been a long standing period of “natural” plating, a style where bountiful garnish and elements are randomly arranged to look effortlessly beautiful. However, it seems we’ve reached a turning point. In 2018, we’ll see a heavy movement of chefs taking a more systematic approach. Dishes will be structured, focused, and meticulously designed to showcase plating mastery.

Daniela Soto-Innes

Nantucket bay scallops wrapped in pear w/ yuzu aguachile and burnt vanilla by Daniela Soto-Innes of Cosme, NYC

Restaurant Barr

Sourdough pancake w/ elderflower, citrus, and caviar by Restaurant Barr, Copenhagen, Denmark



In total alignment with the overarching precision theme, we can say with confidence that the scaling effect has been one of the most popular trends to sweep the culinary scene. In short, elements are meticulously layered into a scale like pattern to create an ethereal result.  See more photos here.

Evan Sung

King-trumpet mushrooms cooked in seaweed and then dehydrated, with a mushroom purée and pine nuts by chef Daniel Humm. Photo by Evan Sung.


Gold band snapper cured in kombu, creme fraiche, caper, tegan blue plum & pickled thyme by chef Clayton Wells of restaurant Automata, Sydney, Australia.


Scallops and Green Almonds by chef Ignacio Mattos of restaurant Estela in NYC.



With the popular rise of 3d printing and products like this Pavoni Spiral mold becoming increasingly available, the creative and offbeat possibilities are endless. We’ve spotted everything from funky spirals to intricate shapes like skulls and animals being used.

David Vidal

Raspberry, calamansi and liquorice by chef David Vidal.

Jurgen Koens

Pumpkin, cheese, and olive oil by Pastry Chef Jurgen Koens, Netherlands.

Tomas Lidakevicius

Smoked chocolate cake, truffle panna cotta, and milk ice cream by Tomas Lidakevicius

Iliana Regan

Corn sorbet and basi by Iliana Regan of Elizabeth Restaurant, Chicago, IL.


A Crater for Condiments

The crater technique isn’t exactly new but it’s no longer tucked away for your mashed potatoes and gravy. We’ve seen a resurgence of this practice being used in both savory and sweet dishes. Watch this technique done in our Simple To Spectacular: Ice Cream video.

Sean Macdonald

Dungeness crab, roasted persimmon, goat cheese, and citrus by chef Sean Macdonald of Hexagon Restaurant.

Librije’s Zusje

Kabocha squash, rye bread, blueberry, sorrel, cardamom, and walnut by Sidney Schutte of Librije’s Zusje, Amsterdam, Holland.

Anders Johnsson

Raspberry and hay flower dessert by chef Anders Johnsson of Katrinelund Gästgiveri & Sjökrog, Sweden


The Fan Effect

Another interesting trend that’s quickly gaining speed is the fan effect. This technique, similar to scaling, is a great way to show compositional movement on the plate.

Kristian Baumann

White Asparagus by chef Kristian Baumann of restaurant 108, Copenhagen, Denmark

Bo Bech

Wild duck w/ pumpkin and arabica by chef Bo Bech of Geist, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Julien Dugourd

Apple dessert by Julien Dugourd


Monochromatic Dishes

Monochrome has been a thing for several years now, but more and more chefs are trying their hand at taking tone on tone elements to create an anything but boring outcome.  A lot can be said with color and this one hue method is making a statement this year.

Signe Birck

Black trumpet mushrooms by Shaun Hergatt © Signe Birck

Jason Howard

Jackfruit and dark chocolate w/ passion fruit & mango cream by chef Jason Howard.

Frank Haasnoot

Coconut dessert by pastry chef Frank Haasnoot