How to make your dishes look even better
You don’t need to be a Michelin Star Chef to know how to make a plate look good. At the very least, you’ll need an eye for detail and some common sense. If you want to get creative, you’ll need a concept and a steady hand. No matter how simple or elaborate you decide to go though, these tips will always hold up.
It may sound basic, but don’t be sloppy in your presentation. Keep the plate as clean as possible. That means if something drips on the edge of the plate when you’re setting it down, clean it off with a dish towel before placing it in front of your date. Also, if you’re serving a juicy piece of meat or a saucy dish, limit the amount of liquid on the plate. It’s always better to add more sauce if desired than to leave your sides swimming in swill. It may be ok when you’re serving yourself, but if you’ve got a +1, try to keep it that way.
Save the over crowded plates for all you can eat buffets - simplicity is your saviour. Whether it’s a mushroom risotto or a rack of lamb, keep portion size to a minimum and try to stack high instead of wide. Not only will this look better, it’ll keep the night nice and light. If you happen to go too light, take the request for seconds as a compliment. With any luck you’ll get the ultimate compliment, an Instagram post #plategame
If there’s one thing you can never go wrong with it’s fresh herbs. Sure you may only use them for one dish but they’ll be worth the extra couple bucks, especially if the recipe calls for them anyway. Just try not to go overboard. We get it, you almost never have fresh herbs. Your date doesn’t need to know that though. A sprig of this or a leaf of that will suffice. Also, always have fresh ground pepper on hand. A crack of pepper on top is a great way to finish a dish, and if you’ve kept it too clean it can add some nice texture to the look.
Plating is a simple act that often goes overlooked but is the cooking equivalent to ironing your shirt. It may be intimidating at first, but by keeping it clean, light, and fresh you’ll always look sharp.