Have you ever hosted a lunch or dinner where you had to give your guests an embarrassing disclaimer about how the food tastes better than it looks? Well, if this situation sounds all too familiar, then you should definitely read on. Many pose the curious question: Why is food presentation so important?
More often than not, food presentation is only an afterthought when investing time and effort in the preparation. However, the presentation of a dish is just as essential to the success of as its taste and flavour. Then there’s the tantalizing question: Does food have to look good to taste better? Sciacca Grill decided to explore the realm of food presentation to answer this and more questions.
Adaptation is key
It’s good to adapt your plate’s presentation according to the occasion. It’s one thing if you’re preparing a kids’ party, where you need to choose fun food presentations that will make them want to eat, and it’s quite another, if you’re hosting a sophisticated dinner party, to celebrate a special occassion or one of life’s milestones. Thus, you need to be judicious enough to differentiate between fun shapes and designs to serious and traditional presentations. Just like a words in a book, food needs to appeal to its audience and tasters, as a text captivates its readers.
Think about functionality and practicality
Enhanced food presentations assimilate many aspects of the dish, including the theme, menu, style of service, and above all, clients’ expectations. The aim should be to not only meet said expectations and standards, but to exceed them.
A well-thought-out and executed plan offers a distinct advantage in any successful meal. It’s important to remember and always think of these practices as embellishments to the food’s attractiveness; the real importance and emphasis of the food should always lie, ultimately, in its flavour and texture.
It’s all about timing
This is what food presentation is all about. What’s the point of offering your guests a fancy dish if it’s served cold, when it was supposed to be served hot? Be sure to spend just enough time plating your dish, because if this aspect is neglected, it could ruin your entire dish.
Creating a healthy balance
Another cardinal rule of food presentation is balancing variety and contrast. Having a variety of tastes and textures on the plate is great, but how these textures are combined is of equal importance. A healthy mixture of textures and colours always gives the dish that wow-factor.
To garnish or not to garnish?
Food presentation doesn’t necessarily imply that plate garnish is a given. So, deciding whether or not to garnish is a crucial element when it comes to food presentation. Some foods look uninteresting without garnish, while others are so naturally great in composition and aesthetics, adding garnish would be on the brink of overdoing it, resulting in a hotchpotch of components.
Portion size versus Plate size
Matching portion size with plate size is another essential facet of food presentation. A plate that’s too small for the food portion it offers will look messy and overcrowded. Conversely, a small portion on too large a plate will look sparse.
Keep in mind the plate’s temperature
Remember, it’s not only about the presentation, you should also keep in mind the temperature of the plate you’ll be serving your food on. Never serve hot foods on cold plates and vice versa.
Planning the perfect design
A chef’s mission is to exploit the full sensory potential of each dish to create a presentation that is practical, functional, and pleasing to all the senses. Planning a design that augments food presentation is an important way to accentuate the special skills that go into planning and producing a unified, thematic, and successful meal.
Remember, the idea of beauty is subjective
Ah, what’s that age-old adage? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This cannot be more apt when it comes to a dish’s aesthetics. Appearances and trends change, sometimes gradually, and at times, quite rapidly. However, the basic principles behind good design and presentation remain constant, even if the specific expressions of those principles keep developing into new styles and trends.
In a nutshell, the skillful art of food presentation can be described as the art of adapting, processing, arranging, or decorating food to develop its visual appeal. After all, eating is a sensuous experience. Our initial experience with food is pictorial, then the dish gradually taps in to our sense of smell and later, our sense of taste.
How something looks is generally an indication of how it should taste. We’re sure you’ll agree that you’d have great trepidation about eating something that looked unappealing and unappetizing. That being said, less is always more. And while it’s extremely important to acknowledge the indispensable component of good food presentation, you certainly don’t want to have a cacophony of ingredients, because it will only result in overkill.
Here at Sciacca Grill Valletta, we believe in being mindful when investing in a dish’s appearance because it displays the pride our dedicated staff take in what they’ve concocted and the efforts they’ve gone through to attract and entice our loyal clientele.
But hey! Don’t take our word for it. We invite you to come and witness our beautiful plates for yourself. For further information and to book your table, click here.