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9 Plating Tips from a Michelin-Star Chef



By Chef Saul Bolton

When cooking at home, we often are more focused on the process and getting the food out in time than on the final presentation. Great Performances’ chef and Michelin-star winner Saul Bolton shares his tips for beautiful presentation.

1. Choose your plates. Before you even begin to cook, make sure you have the plates you’ll need on hand. Consider form, function, color and size. Make sure the plates are clean and ready to use.

2. Keep your work area clean. A clean area promotes clean plating. Make sure you clean your work area and you organize your prepared ingredients prior to plating.

3. Less is more. If it doesn’t fit, don’t force it. Choose a dish that will allow for a ½-inch border between the food and the plate. You want your plate to look full, but not overflowing. The white space will help frame your food.

4. Let your ingredients shine. Make sure not to cover up important ingredients; everything should be seen, even if it’s just peeking out.

5. Shoot for natural symmetry. Your dishes shouldn’t be overly precise and symmetrical. You want order, but natural order

6. Consider dimension. Try adding some extra height to your food by twirling pasta or zoodles so they mound in the plate. Allow foods to rest on each other, such as resting a piece of fish on some greens or on a root vegetable puree.

7. Invest in tools. Adding textures and shapes by using graters, zesters and squeeze bottles provide extra touches that can elevate the appearance of a dish.

8. Garnish wisely. Garnishes can add extra color and texture. Drizzles of oil, dollops of purees and circles of sauces add visual interest to a dish.

9. Clean again. Wipe your plates and serve. Your guests are sure to appreciate your efforts!


Image Credits: ©Georgi Richardson, ©Chip Klose, ©Amanda Gentile, ©Ben Hider