If you’ve been slaving away in the kitchen all day preparing for a dinner party, then the last thing you want is for your food to go under-appreciated because you’ve just piled it onto the plate. Follow these tips to plate your food like a pro and your guests will think they’re dining at a top-class restaurant!

Choose simple yet stylish tableware

Plates and bowls that are busy with patterns or lots of different colours draw attention away from the food itself. If your food is colourful, then a simple white plate can make the colours pop and will keep all eyes on your dish, while still looking stylish and sophisticated. Alternatively, you could choose a plate in a contrasting or complementary colour to add more vibrancy to your dish, just keep it simple and un-distracting.

Give some thought to the size of the plate that you use as well – the rule of thumb is that it should be large enough for each element of your dish to stand out, but small enough that your portion size looks reasonable.

Showcase every element of your dish

Show off every element of your dish to whet people’s appetite as soon as it reaches the table. So, rather than just serving everything in one big pile in the middle of a plate or bowl, you could follow these tips to make your food look more appetising:

  • Mix up colours and textures – a pop of colour or an unexpected texture can add an element of surprise to your dish.
  • Play with different heights – there’s no need to go overboard building towers of food, but you could try subtlety playing with the height of different ingredients.
  • Present in odd numbers – odd numbers are more pleasing to the eye than even, so you might serve five prawns rather than six, for example.
  • Keep garnishes simple – a well-chosen garnish can finish off your dish but keep it simple so that it doesn’t overwhelm the dish visually. It’s also better if the garnish is edible and adds to the taste of the dish, rather than something that your guests will brush to one side or eat by mistake.

Create flavour combinations on the plate

If two elements of your dish pair together to create the perfect flavour combination then serve them together on the plate so that your guests get both flavours in one bite.

For example, if you were serving a vegetable puree, you might slice your meat and place it on top of the puree, which would also add some height to your dish!

Clean your plate for the finishing touch

When you’re happy with how your dish looks, the finishing touch is to clean the plate of any splatters, smudges and even fingerprints. A pro tip is to put a drop of white vinegar into a cup of water, then dip a paper towel into the mix and use it to wipe the rim of your plate.