Plating – The Benefits of Playing With Your Food

Plating is the art of being an adult with excuses to act like a child.

Plating: The Benefits of Playing With Your Food

Mozzalami Plating

As a home cook, I belong to the flavor forward camp. Plating is a lesson in and of itself for the culinary school students and professional chefs of the world, but for most home cooks, garnish is usually as far as it goes. Yes I’m taking pictures and publishing content, but one of the key things I want for my recipes is the concept of cookability, so plating isn’t something I’ve fully explored yet. However, there’s no discrediting the benefits that plating brings to the table. In fact, that’s exactly what I want to dig into today.

Savory Herb And Beef Stew Plating

As I said, I belong to the flavor forward camp, but that’s the funny thing about plating. Good food will sing, but when you play on the visual presentation, eaters tend to like the flavors more. This is true for sauces, starches, meats, and everything but vegetables. People will also tend to eat more from a larger plate than a smaller one. Whether we want to think it or not, playing with your food does bring some actual scientific benefits to the entire eating experience.

Fried Spicy Tuna Onigiri Plating

Let’s not ignore the excitement of seeing a beautiful plating, either. There’s a certain element of surprise that plating adds to an eating experience when someone puts down something that not only smells delicious, but looks interesting and unexpected. Your eye explores the plate, identifying every little aspect of what you’re about to consume and you feel happy to pick up that fork and figure out where to start. It’s no longer sitting down to get fed, but enjoying the little bit of performance that is your meal.

Tilapia Tempura Onigiri Plating

So your parents were wrong to tell you not to play with your food. In fact, that’s a job in a professional kitchen anymore. As a home cook it’s a very new frontier for me but one I’m excited to start exploring. If you’ve been intimidated, like I’ve been, maybe today is a good day to pick up some expendable ingredients and squeeze bottles and start exploring your inner food artist. Mess with color contrast, lines, drizzles, and whatever else might stumble into your head. There’s no harm in looking through some Google images to get your inspiration, and an herb garden with some micro-greens might be your best weapon in the armory. So let the kitchen arts and crafts begin! Good luck, and enjoy.

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