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Plating

Lately I’ve been watching none stop Food Network. I went through a stage of loving Iron Chef, but I got pretty sick of the host and his constant random screaming. So I moved on to Chopped, who’s host is not a karate master and is thus a much better show. Chopped really gets my adrenaline pumping and I love imagining what I would do with all of the random ingredients. No matter the ingredients I also imagine I’d make a salad, so maybe I shouldn’t apply to be on it. Doesn’t quite look like I have the imagination required.

Nice job on the salad, but you were supposed to make a dessert with the ingredients…

I’m pretty sure a Chopped themed Feastly meal, would be an absolute blast so if anyone is willing to volunteer to host let me know. I would love to demonstrate how I am able to make a salad out of anything to a crowd of people.

In every Food Network show plating is a category on their score card, when determining the best dish. Making the dish appetizing and incredibly aesthetically appealing is now more important than ever. It is not enough for it to taste great, it also has to be beautiful enough to photograph and post online.

Although I’ve heard quotes along the lines of “If I wanted to see art I would go to a museum not a restaurant.” I agree that the taste should be the first priority, but in the age of blogging and food photography, I think a dishes’ beauty is an added bonus.

When I went to a Feastly meal hosted by Chez Le Commis, I was once again reminded of the importance of plating. The beautiful colors of each ingredient contrasted with the stark white plates and table cloth was fascinating. Each plate was museum worthy with his strategic placing of ingredients and impeccable seasoning. And his perfect plating didn’t take away from the fantastic flavor one bit, it merely accentuated it.

This meal definitely tasted even better than it looks

When a plate of food is arranged beautifully, I am much more inclined to pay a lot of money and savor this work of art. Just because it also has to taste good, doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to be pleasing to look at. And lets face it, food is already pretty great to look at it, so its plating doesn’t need to be extravagant to look phenomenally appetizing.

So don’t be intimidated by the idea of plating your meals at your next get together. Simply notice which colors go well together in your meal, and add a little color if it’s needed. For example if you are serving steak and mashed potatoes with a reduction, try something new with the plating. Place the mashed potatoes in the center of the plate and stake the stead on top. Then drizzle the reduction on top of the steak around the potatoes. Maybe add a carrot puree or pesto around the plate for more color.
Experimenting with plating should be a fun part of cooking and hosting so embrace it! Your guests will definitely appreciate it and probably take pictures on their iPhones, instagram them and blog about the meal later. So experiment with plating and don’t forget to send us pictures!

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