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What is food plating and presentation, and why does it matter?

Diners expect to see well-presented food as much as they like to have food that tastes good. There are three levels to it. It must be visually appealing, taste good, and healthy.

The restaurant’s interior design matters as well. It is vital to make your plating and presentation match your restaurant theme.

Food plating and presentation must be done by incorporating these elements in equal proportions — color, arrangement, balance, texture, and simplicity for guests to eat.

If you include these elements, then it’s a sure thing that you will win with rave reviews and user-generated content that will get you some serious eyeballs

Is food plating and presentation that important?

Preparing a hearty meal is an art, and so is how it is presented. No matter how delicious a dish tastes, it must be put together correctly to enhance your guests’ experience. There is no fine dining without dressing up your food in the most attractive way it deserves to be presented.

A study by Oxford gastrophysicist Professor Charles Spence suggests that the food plating and presentation can make a dish taste better.

In the study, Spence gave 60 people 3 salads and asked them to rate each before and after eating them. The salads each used the same ingredients but presented them in different ways. One salad was put together with no regard given to presentation, one was neatly arranged, and the third was plated to resemble a painting by artist Wassily Kandinsky.

Source —

Can you guess which salad diners liked best?

It was the salad that resembled a painting.

Diners thought it tasted better (29% tastier, to be precise), even though it used the same ingredients. Spence’s study concluded that consumers were willing to spend as much as three times more on a well-plated dish.

Even basic dishes like a salad can benefit from thoughtful presentation, making the dish seem more delicious and valuable.

So how can you use that information to your advantage?

We will help you muster up the skill of fine food plating and presentation to make your restaurant meals Michelin Star-worthy.

How can you improve your food plating presentation?

The top Indian food plating and presentation and plating techniques are:

  1. Create height
  2. Slice meat horizontally
  3. Add textures
  4. Use contrasting colors
  5. Sync presentation to the restaurant theme
  6. Choose the right plates
  7. Serve smaller portions
  8. Use edible garnishes
  9. Keep it simple
  10. Express yourself

Create height on the plate

Creating height on the plate gives it a little structure and offers a focal point to the entire presentation.

It is important not to separate the food while creating height. You can create height by using a ring mold. Fill the mold with food and lift it gently. Now you can gradually build on this base.

Slice meat horizontally

It is a rule of the thumb to always cut meat horizontally on a 45-degree bias. You have to slice meat against its grain for a tender cut. It is the best way to show the perfect medium-rare steak.

Add textures

Forming a combination of textures and assembling them in one plate is a tangible threat. Create it using sauces, crumbles, sorbets, and many other creative ways. Adding different textures makes your presentation beautiful and the flavors extravagant.

Use contrasting colors

Avoid using color for the sake of color. Instead, use it in contrast to the dish that is being plated. Avoid using artificial colors and use only natural colors like matcha tea, powdered sugar, and other fruit and vegetable powders.

The more time you spend decorating your dish makes it more visually appealing. The more ingredients you use, the more colorful your dish will be. For vegetable food plating and presentation, use colorful ingredients like carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, spinach, and other colorful ingredients.

Sync food presentation to your restaurant theme

Ensure that your presentation is in sync with your restaurant theme. Your presentation doesn’t have to be complicated. Make it as simple and relevant to your guests.

If you own a small rustic restaurant, keep your presentation rustic and simple. If you own a fine dining restaurant, your presentation must be more elaborate, with a certain degree of artistry in crafting the dishes.

The way you plate your food should reflect your restaurant type.

Choose the right plates.

Consider the functionality of the plates. Prioritize the comfort and convenience of your diners. Choose plates that make it easy for your diners to eat from.

When it comes to color, choose a white plate that makes the dish stand out, especially when there is a blend of different colors.

A good plate is also an opportunity for your chefs to show their personality in the dishes they create.”

Serve smaller portions

Use smaller serving plates to serve meals. It is an excellent way to avoid plates and bowls looking empty. Use taller, narrower glassware to serve drinks.

Utilize Menu Psychology. Menu psychology comes in handy to influence your diner’s decisions. Redesign your menu to usher customers towards your new, smaller portions:

Elaborate your smaller portioned entrees positively on your menu using terms like “lighter” and “healthier.” You can also display calorie counts on your menu by placing smaller portions under the “Healthy Selections” section.

Use edible garnishes and decorations.

All garnishes and decorations are a great way of styling your dish, but there are some guidelines you should follow when using them.

Whatever you use must be edible, whether it is a herb, spice, or flower. Everything on your plate should be placed to elevate the dish’s taste by prioritizing how it looks first.

Keep It Simple

Avoid overcrowding the plate with sauces, oils, spices, or microgreens. Excessive amounts of any of these distract the attention of your diner from the food you have worked hard for.

Express Yourself

Plating food is an art; it is when a chef can express their creativity and prove their ability to influence diners. Avoid piling up garnishes and blobs of sauces.

Approach food plating and presentation like an artist, learn a bit of the technique and then find your voice and style.

Time-saving tools to help your food preparation

Beautifully plated food is a delight, and so is having a warm meal. So ensure that you do not serve cold food.

If you are a restaurant owner, you might understand that you cannot help reduce the cooking time of a meal. But you can help your chefs prepare and plate the dishes by streamlining your ordering process.

A POS service enables service staff to quickly take the orders and send them to the kitchen workstation in seconds. It can save time to a vast extent and allows the kitchen staff to work on the plating and presentation.

The right restaurant technology is essential to streamline your ordering and food preparation.

Food Plating and Presentation Tips

If you are a restaurateur, you know how food presentation is vital to marketing your restaurant on social media.

Studies conducted by Oxford show how food presentation increases the customers’ perception of your meals, which allows you to increase your menu prices.

Chefs are responsible for carefully combining flavors and textures and using creative plating to increase appetites just by looking at it.

Food Plating and Presentation Video

Food plating techniques need practice and precision to bring out the best of both worlds of cooking and creativity.

For a know-how guide, watch this video to understand the nuances of food plating.

What are the 5 essential elements of plating and principles of food presentation?

Food Plating and Presentation Technique, The Chef’s Way

Food Presentation sure does allow room for creativity. But the concept of food plating has some definite dos and don’ts that form the critical part of the rule book of Food Plating.

1.Treat your plate as the canvas for your art
2.Always follow the rule of the third for arranging food
3.Use a lot of visual stimulants to enhance the decor
4.Use different sauces as paints for your plate
5.Use natural garnishes to enhance appearance and color

What are the top 5 food presentation and plating techniques?

Food Plating Techniques

An artist and a chef are very much alike, except that a chef’s creation is a delectable masterpiece. The plating is the process, and the chef, an ardent artist, the plate is the canvas, and the food is the medium.

  1. Plate Presentation Techniques
  2. Food Arrangement Techniques
  3. Visual Plating Techniques
  4. Sauce Plating Techniques
  5. Garnishing Techniques

Plate Presentation Techniques

Selecting the right plate to present your meal is extremely important. Follow the steps below to determine which one would be the right plate for your meal.

  • Plate Size — Choose a plate that is big enough to make your food stand out and petite enough to prevent your portions from appearing small.
  • Plate Color — A plate’s color is equally important in influencing the decisions of your diners. Red can increase the appetite. It allows diners to order large entrees and desserts. Comparatively, blue dinnerware is considered unappetizing as there are few naturally occurring blue foods.
  • Light vs. Dark Plates — You can choose to use light and dark plates as you determine which would make the meal stand out. It usually depends on the colors present in the meal. White plates are the most preferred ones, as white offers a neutral background to work with any color. Dark plates offer a perfect canvas for light-colored dishes like white fish, scallops, grits, and creamy carbonara.
  • Theme-based plates — If your restaurant is fine dining, go with classic China dinnerware for traditional plating styles. Investing in unique plates with unconventional designs will facilitate maximum plating creativity.

Food Arrangement Techniques

Arranging your food enhances or diminishes your meal’s tone, integrity, and flavor.

Here are a few vital food arrangement techniques:

  • The Rule of Thirds — The rule of thirds is about capturing the focal point of your dish on either the right or left side of the plate, and not particularly in the center. Consider the rim of the plate as the frame and highlight the focal point of your plate.
  • Consider your plate a Clock — Treat your plate as a clock. Always view from the diners’ perspective. Always place your protein between 3 and 9, the starch/carbohydrate between 9 and 12, and vegetables between 12 and 3.
  • Avoid overcrowding — Focus on one ingredient, which would usually be protein. Arrange the rest of the accompanying ingredients to complement the protein, which is the meal’s star.
  • Moist Ingredients First — Arrange your moist ingredients first, like sauces. This arrangement allows the protein to stay in its place without sliding away.
  • Create Flavor Bites — Flavor bites are simple, bite-sized food that combines all the meal’s ingredients in one bite. Flavor bites are appealing to the eyes and appeasing to the palate.
  • Play with Textures — Contrasting a smooth vegetable puree with crunchy onion straws or topping a steak with crumbled blue cheese yields appealing texture combinations that are classic in high-end cuisine.

Visual Plating Techniques

Enhancing the visual elements in your meal requires a good plating technique. Placing the protein as your focal point, incorporate various colors and sizes of the accompanying ingredients to aid the visual gratification of your diners. Following these nuances will give you a gourmet presentation.

  • Serve Odd Quantities — Serve small foods like fish filet, shrimp, scallops, or any bite-sized appetizers in odd quantities. Diners eat with their eyes before they taste the food. So odd quantities are usually more appealing to the eyes.
  • Color Diversity — Colorful dishes pique the curiosity of your diners and influence them to take their first bite. Contrast the focal point of your meal by complementing it with green vegetables and fruits.
  • Monochromatic Meals — Color-coded meals can be full of surprises. When plated, they carry the appearance that they would have only a single flavor. But they can be given an exciting touch by adding a lot of texture with multiple ingredients like shredded cheese, sponge cake marinated in powdered milk and coconut milk, and almond slivers to add a bit of a crunch. When diners taste it, they feel the different textures and the burst of flavors that surprises their palate.
  • Add Height — Build some height for a focal point. Avoid compactly stacking ingredients but build different layers of food to stimulate the visual appeal.
  • Create Visual Balance — Arrange lean, long, and flat food items against taller ones to balance the arrangement. Balance your plate’s landscape by leaning long, flat items against taller elements. For instance, place roasted carrots at a 45-degree angle across a stack of lamb lollipops

Sauce Plating Techniques

Enhance your food presentation with delicious sauces. A squeeze bottle is a convenient way to add sauce to your medium.

After adding the sauce, wipe down the excess drippings from the plate. Go through the list to find below the most straightforward, fail-proof sauce plating techniques.

  • Smeared Sauce Plating — Take a squeeze bottle to add and fill it with the sauce. Squeeze a layer of sauce and form a filled-in circle on your plate. Take a spoon, place it where the sauce is thick, and pull it across the plate to make a pattern.
  • Accent Dots Plating Technique — Fill a squeeze bottle with the sauce. Fix the dish according to the rule of thirds, then add accent dots. Use multiple sauces to create additional color contrast.
  • Smeared Accent Dots Plating Technique — Use two sauces and create accent dots in a curved line along the side of your plate. Take a small plating wedge and place it at the center of the first accent dot in a row. Drag the plating wedge through the dots, creating a multicolored, single-sided edge.
  • Swirled Sauce Plating Technique- Fill a squeeze bottle with your desired sauce. Place the plate on a spinning cake table. Spin the stand and squeeze the bottle as you spin while simultaneously squeezing your bottle. Adjust your wrist to the spinning speed and use multiple sauces to create more visual contrast.

Mindless garnishing was a thing of the past when random items were dumped on the plate because they looked goodish.

Modern garnishes are carefully oriented to create exceptional flavor bites. Follow these garnishing techniques and guidelines to master the final step of food presentation.

  • Edible Garnishes — Don’t use inedible items as garnishes over your meal. The garnishes should always be edible. To determine if a garnish should be on the plate, ask yourself if you want to consume it with the meal on the plate.
  • Intentional Placement — Let your garnishing be intentional. Avoid using random items as garnishes that do not add value to the meal. And avoid helping up garnishes at one part of the plate. Disperse it along the plate to give it more color and texture. For instance, place a grilled scallion perpendicular to the fish to offset the neatness. Dab an odd number of sauce droplets for composure and gently scatter microgreens around the perimeter.
  • Less Is More — Avoid dumping or heaping food on the plate. Clutter is never good, even with food. If your plate looks full, drizzle some flavor-infused vinegar or oil to enhance the taste and appearance of your dish.
  • Garnishes to Avoid — Avoid using raw herbs, large chunks of citrus and spices, or anything that has a strong odor as garnishes. Use the right proportion of garnishes to complement the meal appropriately.

What are the styles, types of Food Plating and Presentation Methods?

Three new plating methods are currently popular: classic, the new nordic approach, the Asymmetrical form, and the linear approach. The video below shows three ways to present one entree

Food Plating Tools

Using professional tools for food plating is important. We have given a list of the essential elements required for a professionally complete meal presentation.

  • Ring Mold- keep plates clean and increase visual appeal by cutting ingredients to specific shapes and sizes. Ring molds help you develop height and structure when stacking ingredients.
  • Tweezers — help you place garnishes or small, delicate items. Many tongs feature micro-serrations for improved grip and stability.
  • Plating Brush — comes with pre-cut, flat, round, or pointed edges and is perfect for smearing soft ingredients and creating sauce designs.
  • Plating Spoons — Spoons in varying sizes are essential to the art of food presentation. Saucier spoons help you drag sauce across your plate, and slotted spoons quickly separate solids from liquids.
  • Squeeze Bottle — help you apply sauce and aioli to your finished plate. Many come with adjustable precision control tips


Food Plating and Presentation is a game-changer that can make any meal a superstar on the menu. It charges up the whole idea of having gourmet cooked meals. A thoughtful presentation can make a world of difference to the success of your restaurant if you carefully include all the rules of food plating and presentation into your regular food preparation schedule.

Let us know in the comment section if you have found our guide useful. Feel free to present your ideas for a better food plating and presentation.