Food Plating & Cooking
A famous Hollywood movie once cited,
“Cooking is the world’s greatest art. It involves all five senses; vision, hearing, scent, touch and taste.”
You engage the guest with sight, tantalise with sizzle and aroma, anticipate with texture and touch and finally underline the experience with taste. Or probably the sizzle and smell nudge the guest long before the plate arrives on the table. But nothing can kill the experience faster than shoddily presented food. The food may be as palatable, but if it doesn’t please the eyes, the food better be extraordinarily splendid. The reverse though, often falls flat on its face. So let’s look further on Food Plating it’s functions & frivolousness
No matter how well one plates their fare, if it doesn’t score high on palate or equal its ‘fancy’ plating value, the food is a failure.
So, while good food can save bad plating; good plating can never rescue bad food.
Functional and frivolous treads a fine line when it comes to plating. The rules are simple on prose but a tad tricky to execute. Think of all those ‘rose’ shaped beetroots and carrots sitting amidst cucumber ‘petals’ atop your curry, salad or rice! The ‘crafted’ vegetable is never seasoned for it to retain its form. The result is an insipid garnish that completely defies the purpose of a ‘garnish’.
How do you avoid such frivolous gimmicky, be it plating in personal or professional space? Well the rule is simple; if it stars on the salver, it must conclude in the stomach. If it does not complement the food in terms of palate, its serves no function! So start with the primary ‘food’ that you are serving; Entrée, mains or dessert. The sauces, condiments and garnishes are secondary entities. You want to lead the guest to experiencing the food in a controlled manner. So the ‘primary food’ takes centre-stage by dominating visual and spatial area on the plate.
Why is food Plating it’s functions & frivolousness, should be more about function
Work the secondary elements around it. That’s where you bring in the creative juices apart from the literal ones! Exercise control with portions as you don’t want to over season for the sake of aesthetics. Here’s where intellect and imagination comes into play. Remember, any novice can create art when there’s no control over portions. But a real chef or artist makes the best use of limited resources to present his/her finest manifesto. Hence Food Plating has it’s functions and equal amount of frivolousness
Lastly, clean the plate for stray sauce and condiment traces and finger prints. You could accompany the ‘plate’ with little bowls of the condiments and sauces for the guest to customize the food as per his palate. But the experienced chef will skip the latter.
If your plate returns polished of every morsel, your plating is functional, not frivolous. If the food is left unfinished; there’s always the next plate and guest to practice upon! Hence we say Food Plating it’s functions & frivolousness has a long road to journey!
My article on flavour profiles