Food Presentation

Can anyone recommend a good site for food presentation ideas? I’ve googled but I keep getting things along the lines of ‘checker board canapes’, ‘water melon basket’ and ‘carrot flower’.

I’m thinking more along the line of toffee cages (you know you do them over the back of a ladle and it makes your chocolate mousse look like it’s trapped in golden dome), stuff that is quite simple but just gives a bit of a wow factor!

Also if anyone could recommend an attractive way to present chips (or fries) I would appreciate it. There is really nothing better to be served with the dish I am making (eye fillet with a great sauce and potato rosti just doesn’t cut it) but I can’t seem to make it look any better than a pub meal.
I was thinking maybe a cheese basket (where you put them in the oven and It’s all crispy) but I’m thinking that might be a little retro for the meal.

Thanks Dopers!

It might help that the term for such things generally fall under “plating.”

There’s no real guide for it, the same as there’s no guide for how to paint a pretty picture of anything. Just a few principals you can pick up (like starting from the middle of the plate), and beyond that it’s mostly about keeping your eyes open and seeing what other people are doing.

Flip through some good (respected, not trendy) cookbooks and look at the pictures. This one is a favorite. The best food artists in the world work on these books.

ETA: Any book by Donna Hay is recommended, really, for pictures and for recipes.

Also google food styling and food photography.

As far as making things like caramel cages, that’s not really about presentation so much as sugar work.

Somehow I missed this whole paragraph.

Chips and fries served with newspaper is a classic, especially with fish. Wrapped in a cone, or in a basket. Wax paper can be used between the food and newspaper if someone’s nervous about the ink (though it’s extremely unlikely to get any kind of contamination from it).

Things like sugar domes and cheese bowls are nice, though at this point they are quite often overused and have almost become tacky. Kind of looks like trying too hard, I think. Most modern style is more basic, utilitarian. Thing on plate.

Try doing a search for “pommes souffles”; they’re upscale fries.

Thanks for that! The plating helped immensely (and I discovered deconstruction which is great) and I will definitely try the Pommes Souffles as an alternative to the chips. I know a lot of these techniques are overused but for a specific dinner I was planning I think this stuff will really knock someone’s socks off! :wink:

another garniture that looks great is carven mushroom caps… and dangitall I cant find a picture online, even though I know I have seen them … let me check lilecks quick… bah. I have it in my cookbooks.

What you do is wash the shrooms, trim the stems of the tough fiberous bit, then take a birdsbeak paring knife [or any very sharp paring knife] and gently cut through the top skin in a v shaped groove, starting at the center of the cap going to the edge in a slight swirl - so the entire cap ends up with decorative swirl cuts liek wheel spokes. The shrooms can be left raw, and used with veggie dip or gently steamed to keep its shape.

They look great with radish roses and slices of bell pepper cut into shapes with small cookie cutters [I have a whole set of tree leaf shape minis from King Arthur Flour a few years back that are great for veggie shapes] and a nice veggie dip.

I swear, I am going to try and get my all in one out of the box and learn how to use the scanner function!

ETA: Some classic french cookbooks also show lots of garniture, try Larousse Gastronomie for some great funky retro to the 1700 and 1800 ideas =)

Try the technical term, turning. Among the first sites that, ahaha, turn up is this and this (video warning on the last one).

Here in no particular order, a couple of titbits from one year in restaurant school: I’d say that the most important part of food presentation starts even before cooking. Evenly cut ingredients of equal size are more esthetically pleasing, and finish up at the same time.

Would you guess that the good old golden section applies in plating food, as well? On a dinner plate it’s located approximately at 4.30, about halfway between the center and the ridge. And that’s where you usually place the main attraction. Also, heavy stuff below the equator on the plate, and lighter things above, or the dish may look unbalanced.

And use a ring when plating rice, couscous or other grains, that looks more professional than just ladling it up.

There’s some garniture in Mastering the Art of French Cooking - carved mushrooms for certain.

The eGullet course on Plating & Presentation is excellent.

AH…Thankyou … I am suffering brain death from some med I am currently on … it makes me constantly sleepy, and occasional bouts of aphasia kick in … I kept trying all the variants of garniture and mushroom I could think of =)