As any good cook will tell you, creating a great meal is just as
dependent on visual appeal as it is on taste. There's a reason why
we love fancy restaurant dishes: they're not only delicious, but
they're masterfully plated with each item on the menu given its own
unique look. Bringing this professional flair to your own cooking
is easy and fun. Read on for tips on creating your own at-home meal
Invest in a Few Cooking Rings for a Professional
Simple, stainless steel cooking rings give chef's the power to
produce gorgeous, layered looks most commonly associated with
nouveau cuisine. These rings can be purchased from restaurant
supply stores or kitchen shops, but large cookie cutters make an
inexpensive alternative. Place the ring in the middle of a large
plate and layer on your food items to produce a neat, uniform
presentation. To finish the look, drizzle your accompanying sauce
around the dish.
A Simple Squeeze Bottle Could Become Your Greatest Asset
in Decorating Desserts
You can fill it with sauces and syrups and then literally draw
with them onto a plate. Try striping, zigzags or simple dots on a
plate and then placing the dessert in the centre. A really
smart-looking presentation is almost ridiculously easy to do: use
your squeeze bottle to make small dots in a sauce in a contrasting
colour. Then use the tip of a knife or skewer and draw it through
each dot. You're left with a pretty, abstract pattern.
Quick and Easy Presentation: Dusting
Placing coca powder or icing sugar into a sieve and lightly
tapping it over your dish gives it a sweet, little touch. Place a
fork and knife on your plate and then dust over it with your powder
or sugar, remove the utensils and you're left with a charming
stencilled look on the plate.
A Mandoline: Turn Even Mundane Veggies into Stunning
You can find mandolines in high-end kitchen stores (or you might
also luck out in finding a few in Chinatown). Mandolines allow you
to slice vegetables paper thin for lovely presentation. You can
also produce julienne-style and waffle-style cuts with this tool.
However, be very cautious when using a mandoline; you can even buy
special gloves to protect your hands.
Garnish is a Good Way to Add Colour to any
It's a good general rule of thumb to garnish meals using items
already found in the dish. For example, if you've used tomatoes in
your casserole, try slicing a small tomato into quarters and
fanning them along the top. Perhaps the most overused garnish is
parsley. To make a parsley chiffonade (fancy speak for thin
shreds), take a bunch of parsley on your cutting board, roll
tightly into a log and then make thin slices. Another classic
garnish overachiever is citrus, especially the dynamic lemon.
Slicing a few thin rounds of lemon is a great way to add a
colourful visual pop to a meal. You can also take a slightly
thicker slice, lay it flat on your board and make a slice halfway
from the middle. Gently twist each end in opposite directions and
sit on the top of the dish.
Platters and Dishes
Today, the trend has leaned towards a square, Asian-inspired
dish for presenting meals, but don't be afraid to venture into
other shapes. Mix and match your dinnerware and styles-square or
triangular dishes can add a lot more visual interest to your