Food plating techniques and ideas

In the age of Instagrammers and food bloggers, food plating and presentation seem to matter more than ever. But is the presentation of a dish just as essential as its taste? And if so, should we take some time to learn the main food plating techniques to enhance the flavor experience?

A study from Oxford gastrophysicist, Professor Charles Spence, seems to suggest that the food presentation can actually make a dish taste better. In the study, Spence’s team prepared 3 salads and asked the participants to rate each one before and after they ate them. Each plate used the same ingredients but was plated differently.

food plating techniques
  • One salad was plated to resemble a painting by artist Wassily Kandinsky;
  • The other salad was the kind of salad we do at home (when we are in a hurry);
  • And the third was neatly arranged.

Can you guess which salad the participants liked best?

You got it: it was the salad that resembled a painting. It seems that the old idea that we eat first with our eyes may be true.

food plating techniques
Wassily Kandinsky’s ‘Painting #201’ and the salad it inspired.
Photograph: The journal Flavour

Parents often ask how they can help their children to develop healthy eating habits. Can we get kids to eat more salad by changing the presentation? With that in mind, today we’ve decided to share some food plating techniques that you might appreciate. Scroll down to continue reading.

Food plating techniques

Food plating techniques #1: Your plate is your canvas

Let’s start with a very important reminder: your plate is your canvas and everything on your plate should be placed with the intention of elevating the dish taste first and the way it looks second.

Food plating techniques #2: Choose your food plating method

There are several distinct plating methods to consider, but today we’ll focus on the top three:

  • Classic Plating
    The classic view suggests that we should view our plate as a clock. Protein should be between 3 and 9, starch or carbohydrate from 9 to 12, and veggies from 12 to 3.
  • Free Form Plating
    This method draws inspiration from art and allows for creative, abstract arrangements, much like the Kandinsky-inspired salad, remember?
  • Landscape Plating
    This method of plating takes its name from the arrangement of landscaped gardens.

Food plating techniques #3: Avoid food with the same color scheme

Work with more colorful ingredients to add more color to your meal: carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, lettuces, beans… all have gorgeous colors. Also, use the sauce to make the dish look more interesting. Oh, and never underestimate the power of a sprinkle of fresh herbs!

food plating techniques

Food plating techniques #4: Choose the right plates

Rectangular or elongated plate, square plate, round plate… no matter the size or the form, your plate serves as the canvas for your food.

  • It’s very important to always allow some white space to remain;
  • Don’t forget to wipe the edges of the plate with a clean towel at the end.
food plating techniques

Food plating techniques #5: Keep it simple

When in doubt, keep it simple… long as it doesn’t compromise the flavor.

Was this helpful?

Join our expert local guide and discover more food plating techniques on our Taste Porto Food Tours. Let’s explore Porto together!

Food Presentation Tips for Your I LOVE PORTO BOX

The I LOVE PORTO BOXES are here! We hand-picked some of Porto’s most amazing local products and shops and put it all together in one magical box that you can order today.

If you already have yours but feel uncertain as to what is the best presentation, here are some food presentation tips:

  • Cured meat is the star of any charcuterie board followed closely by the cheeses. Cured meat can be fanned out in several half-circles around the board; larger pieces can be folded into fun shapes;
  • Cheese is already served in a variety of shapes to add visual interest;
  • The next big item: a bowl of delicious local jam;
  • And then, the crackers: “cacos”, a favorite local delicacy;
  • Drop a few peanuts into the blank spaces:
  • Tuck the chocolates into any space that’s still empty;
  • And let’s not forget the gourmet canned fish;
  • Finally, the seasonal fruits: fan them out in a half-circle as well.

Enjoy this box and keep on loving Porto,
Taste Porto Foodie Team

Discover Porto's food secrets and have a wonderfully personal experience on our Food & Wine tasting tours
Book now

Don't forget to share this post