The way the food is presented on a plate is what lures our eyes and makes us want to taste it. Imagine, for instance, how your room looks when it’s messy and disorganised to how it looks when you clean it up. The same analogy applies when presenting a dish: it’s all about how the elements are arranged …on a plate.

As we discussed a few blogs ago, food presentation is important. But what are the components of good food presentation? How do you know what to pay attention to when presenting food to your guests? No matter how delicious a dish may be, if it’s served on an unappetising plate, you’ll definitely not be getting rave reviews by your tasters. So, what elements can constitute in genuine food presentation? Sciacca Grill continues to discover this fascinating world….

It respects the value of natural colour

This is one important tool in any plate’s presentation. The natural colour of a food can be used as a chief component in design. Colours engage us in different and very particular ways. Greens add that element of freshness and vitality. Browns, golds and maroons are warm, comforting and rich hues. Orange and red are considered as intense and powerful.

As captivating colours can be, avoid the overuse of one colour on a single display. Any truly successful garnish or focal point adds excitement and interest to a presentation. But it can do more than simply that, it can also augment the quality of the entire meal experience. A touch of colour strengthens or magnifies the dish’s concept.

Achieve balance by combining the physical aspects of food

Food supplies the essential visual elements: colours, textures, and shapes. Moreover, the foods you serve also supply two important, but non-visual elements: aroma and taste.

A chef’s design philosophies include symmetrical or asymmetrical compositions, contrasting or complementary arrangements, and the use of lines to fashion patterns or show motion. In creating a composed presentation, the accessibility of each item placed on the platter should also be taken into consideration. This is why larger items should be placed at the back and lower items in front. Items such as sauce boats should be positioned in an area that does not disturb the design, but allows easy access.

Consistency and repetition is appealing, to a certain extent, but too much of anything becomes dull, whether it’s an ingredient, colour, shape, flavour, or texture. Having contrasting elements adds energy and motion to an arrangement. Yet, when every element seems to stand on its own, the effect can be muddled.

Plating and presentation in a social media driven world

Perhaps the maxim Never judge a book by its cover, doesn’t really apply in this context, because we live in a world where appearance is given a lot of importance, especially when it comes to first impressions. In this day and age, diners enjoy their meals as much with their eyes as they do with their mouths. And more importantly still, these same diners critique a restaurant’s dishes by the images it presents on a variety of social media forums.

With the ever-increasing standing of social media influencing dining decisions, nowadays a plate’s presentation even needs to appeal to an online audience for restaurants to remain competitive. With the budding of social media pages related to restaurant recommendations, the importance of presentation has never been this indispensable.

When crafting a dish, our chefs consider a number of elements – most importantly, flavour profile, but additionally the seasonality and availability of ingredients, the food cost involved in preparing said dish, and how each specific dish blends into our overall restaurant concept. Our chefs invest the time to focus their energy on fine-tuning each dish’s appearance.

All Show and No Substance?

Just because you’re crafting the “picture-perfect” dish, you need to be careful not to fall into the trap of venturing into that ‘danger zone’ where the presentation of a dish outdoes the actual quality. In the contemporary gastronomic world, it’s a truism that chefs are assessed less on their knife skills and more on their Instagram following. Perhaps this is why a stunning plate of food that’s tagged and hashtagged has become somewhat more valuable than whether that same plate of food was crafted with care and tastes delicious.

Here at Sciacca, we make sure that when posting images of our dishes to social media, we don’t use any filters. We want to promise that what diners see is what they get – a geunine experience to the one they see online. Thus, quality and taste should still be the primary focus for chefs when creating their dishes. And while presentation should be considered, it should not be at the expense of the dish or the be-all and end-all of the food.

Unlike other art forms, cooking is an art that’s entirely universal, perhaps because everyone needs food. A meal’s beauty and versatility lies in the fact that it can act as a storyteller, exhibiting the personality, background, and culture of its creator.

Though taste plays a vital role here, so does appearance. How a meal is presented speaks a lot about its origin. Ultimately, before anything else, a dish taps into our visual senses and we’ve judged it before even having tasted it.

Do you want to experience tasting the best steak in Malta? Then we suggest for you to book your next table at Sciacca Grill Valletta. Our dishes are as divine in appearance as they are in taste and texture, and that, we can promise you!

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