Does your cooking look like a sad brown glob of unidentifiable ingredients? Have you ever turned someone off their meal just by the way it looks? Or maybe you’re not that bad of a cook but you still lack that extra something that would make your food pop. If any of these is true, you are not alone. A lot of cooks, especially male ones, suffer from a case of bad food presentation. Men don’t cook much, traditionally speaking. And when we do, we either cook only for ourselves, or we cook in culturally male spaces – barbecues, campfires, and the like – which are perceived as more rugged and unpolished than dining-room meals. Naturally, a lot of men don’t care much about plating – good eating is all that’s expected.
But the thing is, the world of food contains far beyond mere flavor. For a skilled chef, the food is not only about how it tastes, but about the whole experience – how it feels, looks, and smells. And while the average diner wouldn’t be looking for such an exquisitely elevated experience, they would certainly be looking for something more than just everything thrown together on a plate.
So what can you do to give your diners, or even yourself, a better-looking meal? We guide you through some key tips below.
Tips For Men For Better Food Presentation
Plating Is About Proportions
Not just nutritionally speaking, of course. Plating is akin to creating a masterpiece on a canvas. It's about balance, symmetry, and creativity. You can easily make your plate look better by thinking of it as such – consider the use of negative space, symmetry, and the positioning of elements to make the dish aesthetically pleasing. Remember, it’s about the complete experience, not just how it tastes.
But how do you achieve good proportions? This is multifaceted. Firstly. the most important aspect is color. We eat with our eyes first, so they say. In other words, sight is our primary sense, and for a complete experience, it has to be catered to first.
Color and Contrast
Experiment with colors to make your dish pop. Incorporate a variety of colorful ingredients to add vibrancy and visual appeal. Contrasting colors can make the dish more inviting. Think about the color wheel and how different colors complement or contrast each other. For instance, a plain-looking dish like soup or porridge can look much better with some green herbs like parsley or scallions for visual variety. You could even experiment with different colored edible flower petals if you’re feeling really daring.
Textures and Layers
Second to color, is how it feels in the mouth. And ‘mouthfeel’ isn’t about flavor only. In fact, it doesn’t refer to flavor at all, but to texture. Consider the textures of the elements on the plate. It might taste good, but a homogenous mouthfeel, like color, becomes boring. So experiment by mixing textures – crunchy, smooth, crispy, creamy. Think of chocolate chips in ice cream, or anything that’s crunchy on the outside and softer inside – good bread, fried chicken, even mozzarella sticks. Varied textures can add depth and intrigue to the presentation.
Also layer elements strategically to create visual interest and depth, making the dish look more intricate and inviting. Remember, visual proportions. Think of how food is plated in very fancy restaurants – bits and pieces of crispy matter balance against soft in visually striking ways.
Utilize Various Shapes and Sizes
Embrace different shapes and sizes of ingredients to add diversity to your plating. Experiment with circular molds for rice or mashed potatoes, or use cookie cutters for vegetables. And if dainty presentation isn’t your thing, you can play around with irregular cuts while preparing ingredients for a more organic, rustic feel.
Garnishing and Finishing Touches
Pay attention to the final touches. Fresh herbs, edible flowers, sauces drizzled artistically, or a sprinkle of spices can take a dish from ordinary to extraordinary. However, exercise restraint; the aim is to complement the dish, not overwhelm it. This isn’t just for looks but for the scent as well. Think of the smell of olive oil sprinkled over a salad, or fresh butter melting over something warm.
Invest in Quality Tableware
The right tableware can significantly enhance food presentation. Invest in quality plates, bowls, and serving dishes that complement the style of food you're preparing. Simple, elegant tableware often works best to let the food itself shine. High-quality ceramics work well on all occasions, but you could use specific pieces to complement the cuisine – Japanese-style bowls for ramen and Indian-style steel handis for curries, for example.
Consider the Setting
The surroundings play a role in the overall dining experience. Think about the ambiance, lighting, and color scheme of your dining area. A beautifully presented meal in a well-designed space creates a holistic dining experience.
Practice and Experiment
Like any skill, food presentation improves with practice. Don't be afraid to experiment and try new things. If you have time and interest, you can learn from chefs or food stylists. Observe their techniques, and adapt them to suit your style.
And finally, remember that while aesthetics are important, taste and quality should never be compromised. The ultimate goal of food presentation is to complement the flavors and textures of the dish, enhancing the overall dining experience.
Men play the role of food presentation in the great symphony of cuisine with the skill of an experienced conductor. Not only as expert chefs, but they have the ability to take a basic dish and turn it into a masterpiece, provoking the senses even before the dish is eaten. Their dish serves as the canvas, and the colors are the ingredients. Men have the ability to turn eating into an art form, from thoughtful presentation to whimsical garnishes. Thus, let every meal serve as an exhibition, a sensory feast, and a celebration of the gastronomic talent that each and every man possesses—that of a creator, a chef, and a master of presentation.
Written By: Girish P
Edited By: Chirajita Gupta