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2.ENHANCING FOOD PRESENTATION:-......................................................................4
8.GORDON RAMSAYS NOTES ON FOOD PRESENATION:.....................................15



In the world of cooking, presentation is every bit as important as flavor. This idea is
critical for restaurants, where a dish's appearance could determine the difference between
excellent reviews and bankruptcy.
The presentation of food often refers to its visual composition on the plate, in a state of
readiness to be eaten. Modern color photography has broadcast alluring artworks that
have come to be the signatures of stylish chefs. All manner of theater is employed in the
careful display of food to consumers, appealing to all senses.
Chefs often pay close attention to plate presentation, choosing ingredients and techniques
to suit a desired effect, following a standard arrangement and wiping away drips. Some
foods are included mainly to set off others, such as a parsley garnish, and such elements
as shells are not to be consumed at all. Checking the food's appearance, which is the
chef’s last task, becomes the eater's first. Diners are often fascinated by the food when it
arrives at the table, as if taking in the whole meal. Vision is decisive in identifying
ingredients, their quality; the techniques used, and even has a bearing on the sensitivity of
flavor. A dish not displayed traditionally may "not taste the same," an unfamiliar color or
smell, may be putting-off.


Intricate presentation has its roots in ancient times. The Greek gourmet Athenaeus
describes lavish feasts, not uncommon in third century B.C.E. Macedonia, at which as
many as twenty guests were crowned in gold tiaras and presented with silver cups to
keep. Mountains of food were pressed upon them, accompanied by musicians, dancing
girls, and drinking. A large pig was then carried in, its belly disclosing numerous birds
and fishes. After more drinking, guests were served a piping-hot kid, with another silver
platter to keep, as well as spoons of gold, and ivory bread baskets. Naked women
tumbled among swords and blew fire from their mouths before crystal platters arrived
with baked fish.
Such excesses were also frowned upon. Some of the mightiest medieval minds, including
St. Thomas Aquinas, considered gluttony, the foremost of the seven deadly sins, and
Chaucer's Parson inveighed characteristically against the "appareling," or dressing up, of
food, which included pastry and aspic designs, marzipan armorial quartering’s. Perhaps
all the singing, dancing, fabulous table displays, glamorous surroundings, and networks
of diners and servants meant that presentation had overwhelmed the food. However,
lavishness lent importance to the entire social and cultural event, a point recognized by
the Parisian restaurant of the late eighteenth century, which attracted customers with
mirrors, upholstery, and elegant service. Here individuals could order anything from a list
at any time and even for a table of one, thereby narrowing the focus to what appeared
immediately in front of them and giving rise to the modern fixation on the plate. In “The
Invention of the Restaurant”, Rebecca Spang finds "a world in which eating was not a
biological imperative but an artistic passion, and in which food came not from farm or
field but from ornately decorated boutiques." The new gastronomic writers hailed "the
grand restaurant's ability to stimulate and satisfy any desire" (pp. 150–151).



Enhanced food presentations amalgamate all aspects of the buffet, including the theme,
the menu, the style of service, and your clients’ expectations. The goal is never to simply
meet those expectations and standards, but to exceed them. A well thought-out and
executed plan is a distinct advantage in any successful presentation. The real importance
and focus of the food should always lie, ultimately, in its flavor and texture. Food
supplies the important visual elements: colors, textures, and shapes. furthermore, the
foods you serve also supply two important, but non-visual, elements: aroma and flavor.
The design principles at the chef’s disposal include proportioned or unbalanced
compositions, contrasting or complementary arrangements, and the use of lines to create
patterns or specify motion. In creating a balanced presentation, one must be sure to take
into consideration the accessibility of each item to be placed on the platter. Place larger
items in the rear and lower items in front. Items such as sauce boats should be kept in an
area that does not disturb the design, but allows the guest easy access.
A certain amount of promptness and recurrence is comfortable and appealing, but too
much of anything becomes droning, whether it is an ingredient, a color, a shape, a flavor,
or a texture. Introducing distinct elements adds energy and motion to an arrangement.
However, when every element seems to stand on its own, the effect can be messy.

The color of a food can be used as component in design. We relate with colors in very
specific ways. Greens give the notion of freshness and liveliness. Browns, golds, and
maroons are warming, comforting, and rich. Orange and red are deep, powerful colors.
Colors that tone are those that touch each other on the color wheel (for example, green,
blue, and violet are complementary colors, while blue and orange are contrasting).
Incompatible colors are rarely a problem. A more common concern is the overuse of one
color on a single display.
Cooking method is essential to great presentation, because no matter how artful the
display, the way the food tastes is the most important element. In addition to assuring that
foods are palatable and at the right temperature, the process of cooking gives the chef a
chance to enhance the food in other noteworthy ways. “Visual flavor” is an important
concept to the garde manger chef when creating a cold food display. Unlike hot foods,


with their plentiful aromas to lure the guest, the aromas of cold foods are less evident,
making it necessary for guests to “see” the flavors. Some techniques deepen or darken the
food’s exterior; grilling, roasting, and smoking are a few examples. With these cooking
methods it is also important for the guests to be able to see the seasonings used on the
food, i.e., specks of seasonings and herbs or the shine of oil from a dressing. Other
techniques introduce new elements, such as coatings or wrappers; pan frying and deep-
frying are two such techniques. For an interesting selection throughout the menu, one can
introduce a number of different techniques for a variety of flavors, colors, and textures.
The shape and height of the food is an important part of food presentation. Food has three
dimensions. Cubes, cylinders, spheres, and pyramids are just some of the shapes food can
assume. Alternating or repeating shapes in a design is one way to add visual interest to
food preparations. You can modify the natural shape of a food by cutting or slicing it. To
give height to foods that are naturally flat, you can roll or fold them, arrange them in piles
or pyramids, or use serving pieces such as pedestals, columns, or baskets to raise foods.
Any truly successful garnish or focal point adds thrill and interest to a presentation. But
they can do more than simply that. They also improve the quality of the whole
experience. They underpin or enlarge the restaurant’s theme or concept. They provide
important visual elements that help the guest decode the function or meaning of any
When you turn your attention to the presentation of the entire line or even the entire
room, you can see that centerpieces and displays can and should serve the same functions
as focal points or garnishes. They too should fit in with the featured concept or theme. It
isn’t enough that they match the other elements of the design.



A good design serves a function. The function of a restaurant is to serve the guest.
Therefore, a appropriately devised buffet design places foods sensibly. Guests should be
able to tell what they are eating. They should be able to reach the food easily, and to find
all the suitable service tools, including plates and silverware, located where they are, easy
to see and easy to reach. If there is a chance that a food might cause an allergic reaction,
guests should be warned, either through placards or a printed menu or by positioning
knowledgeable staff on the line. The design and layout should account for keeping foods
properly heated or chilled and safe from cross contamination. These elements of the
overall design must be accounted for first. Guests typically expect that a buffet will
provide a wide array of choices as well as the option to take as much as they like of any
offering. The design of a buffet should support this expectation. At this stage of banquet
planning, menu items have already been scrutinized for their costs, appropriateness to the
theme, and customer acceptance. The banquet chef next begins to apply design principles
and elements. The result is a work of art that is echoed throughout every part of the
buffet, from a single, tiny garnish on an individual canapé to ice carvings and display

Trendy food presentation moved toward a simplifying novelty during the twentieth
century. Worshiping "the geometric splendor of speed," the Italian branch of the Futurist
movement under Filippo Tommaso Marinetti turned food into art in the 1930s. The
Futurists advocated "optimism at the table," accompanied by "experimentation with new,
apparently absurd mixtures." Believing that "form and color are just as important as
taste," they struggled against "puddles of sauce, disordered heaps of food, and above all,
against flabby, antivirile pastasciutta" in an appeal to Italians to abandon pasta that
captured headlines around the world (Marinetti, pp. 21, 36, 38, 67, 133).


French semiotician (scholar of signs) Roland Barthes ridiculed "ornamental cookery" in

one of his Mythologies essays written between 1954 and 1956. The color photographs in
Elle magazine sold a "dream of smartness" to the working class, he wrote. Shown from a
high angle, at once near and unreachable, the food could be consumed "simply by
looking" by people who could dream of partridges but not afford them. Any actual food
was "no more than an indeterminate bed-rock" beneath "sedimentary layers" of smooth
"coatings and alibis." For the "primary nature of foodstuffs, the brutality of meat or the
abruptness of seafood" was buried beneath sauces, creams, icing and jellies. These
coverings were the blank page for a "fairy-land reality" of chiseled mushrooms, carved
lemons, shavings of truffle, and arabesques of glacé fruit.

French restaurant cooking returned triumphantly to the basics with nouvelle cuisine in the
mid-1970s. The waiters were less likely to serve from silver platters ("flats"); instead,
cooks positioned the food carefully in the kitchen and on plates about one-third larger,
accentuating the lighter portions. The food was more geometrically laid out, relying on
the natural colors of the main ingredients with sauces underneath rather than on top. This
less arduous food required more genius, and so was often copied badly. But the trend
spread quickly, largely because of its striking, somewhat Japanese look, originally
photographed from above but increasingly from the side to benefit its often eminent


• White space or free space of a plate plays an important role in the finished
presentations. Also keep in mind the “reflective area” in case of mirrors.

•User friendly – Keep the food user friendly. A mile high stack is often problematic for
the guest. If plated portions need to be cut by the guest, present the food in a comfortable
slicing position for the guest.


•The shoulder/rim of the plate should be spotlessly clean. Dressing the rim results in an
un-acceptable appearance and may be messy. Meat, vegetable juices and fat should not
make a dish look unappetizing.

•Harmony – Ingredients and garnishes should harmonize with the main part of the dish
and conform to contemporary standards of nutritional values.

•Avoid clutter – Unnecessary ingredients should be avoided and only practical &
acceptable cooking methods be applied.

•Portion weight should be in keeping with the norms of accepted practice and nutritional
balance. Plated portions must be proportional to the dish itself and the number of persons

•No inedible shells, bones, plants, pottery should not be kept in the plate as a garnish or
additions as it cannot be consumed.

•Sauce/Dressing and Vegetables- Colour Sauces should have a glaze/shine/sheen, bright

and fresh looking of the right consistency. Vegetable must be cut or turned uniformly.
Colors should direct the viewer’s eye, should be bright and crisp and dull due to
overcooking. Complementary or contrasting colors may be used.


There are a lot of factors that play an important role in deciding what presentation and
styling techniques are to be used in plate presentation.

Food culture goes beyond simply what is consumed; it generally involves particular
rituals of serving, hospitality, and celebration. What people eat in traditional cultures is


determined both by natural conditions and the local economy and also by ritual and
belief, often-religious views regulate what may and may not be consumed even if it could
be produced.
Taking India as an example where every state has its own language and cuisine, and
every cuisine has its own influence. Most Indian cuisines are related by similar usage of
spices. Indian cooking is distinguished by the use of a larger variety of vegetables than
many other well-known cuisines.

In the north and the west, Kashmiri and Mughlai cuisines show strong central Asian
influences. Through the medium of Mughlai food, this influence has propagated into
many regional kitchens. The North that is from Punjab through Uttar Pradesh and Bihar,
a variety of flours are used to make chapattis and other closely related breads. The
Punjabi food is very spicy because of the climate influence which is very dry and the
addition of the spices helps in perspiration.

To the east, the Bengali and Assamese styles are influenced by the cuisines of East Asia.
All coastal kitchens make strong use of fish and coconuts. The desert cuisines of
Rajasthan and Gujarat use an immense variety of dals and achars, which are the preserves
that substitute the lack of vegetables.
The use of tamarind to impart sourness distinguishes Tamil food. The Andhra food has its
own distinguished flavors of their regional chilly, that is Guntur and this is the spiciest
chilli in India.

Religion plays an important role in the influence of food. There are religions like Islam,
where pork is a taboo for them, and in Gulf countries there is very less consumption of
pork and pork products. There are different religions and customs followed in India.
There are many religious influences in India, taking an example of the north India where
the majority of population is Hindus and Sikhs and consuming beef is against the
religion. Down west, there is Islamic influence and there the pork consumption is
restricted and moreover they consume halal meats.


Nevertheless, the best example of the religious influence of food and styling is
consumption of food without the addition of ginger and garlic. The pandits have practiced
this in the regions of Kashmir. Jainis also have their food without ginger or garlic.

These restrictions of using a limited number of food items in the preparation of food, also
limits the list of the items that can be used in the plate presentation. Hence, it is said that
culture and religion are great factors that highly influence the plate presentation in Food
Presentation and Styling.


Cooking a meal for the special someone in your life or celebrating an occasion at home
requires a lot of effort. All the time and effort would fall flat if it is not presented well on
the table. Presentation is a very crucial part of every dish; you do not have to be a master
chef of five star rated hotels to create the same class effect.
We humans cannot separate food from the lifestyles we have; just have a look at the
various cuisines that we have all around the world. For me food is my passion. What is a
mouth watering dish, we always use this term very liberally but in the real sense is that
their appetite should rise just at the sight of the dish. A dish that looks appealing to the
eye is hands down hit among the guests. All you need is a simple instructions and some
forethought to make it look enticing. The main dish should look like the brightest one and
cast a spell over the glances of the guests.
When it comes to food, every person is very particular and very fussy and when you are
having guests over you surely don’t want to mess the dish with inedible garnishing. My
personal thumb rule stick with veggies, fruits and spices to add some zing and color to
the platter.

Finding the right blend:


Main course:
Decoration and food should harmonize one another, always bear in mind that when you
are serving a dish that the garnish and the dish don’t contradict in tastes. If you really do
not have time then simple lemon wedges will do the trick to elevate the smoked fish of
the main course. Serve it with some dill that is finely chopped it adds a touch of green
and looks appealing too. In Indian dishes one garnish that can never go wrong is
coriander and neatly slit green chilies.
If you cannot think of using the ingredients as a garnish then think twice if it won’t
appeal your taste buds then the guests won’t like it too.

Dessert Garnishing:

If you are serving ice cream in the dessert then i would suggest you go with vanilla ice
cream. You can take very cute and delicate bowls and place a scoop of ice cream on a
glazed glass with chocolate sauce. To top it add a complimenting wafer stick. It holds
true with food as well, simple things can be elaborated on and made colorful. If the
choice was chocolate ice cream then there is very less room for improvement. For all the
diehard chocolate fans, you can always go for some extra chocolate sauce.

For an even more interesting fruit dessert garnish, make frosted fruit by painting on some
lightly beaten egg white, rolling the fruit in superfine sugar, and letting it dry overnight.

Artistically done plate appeals the eye:

Arrange them in a neat fashion and avoid clutter, don’t overdo anything, some subtle
differences will surely make a lasting impression.

Sprinkle some flavors into the dish before serving so that even if the dish has been made
in a jiffy stands out in the crowd.

Sprinkle nuts, saffron in shrikhand (flavored curd), herbs such as parsley, finely chopped
veggies to add a quick touch to the food.


Some basic food art:

These simple food art tricks can be used by any bachelor or anyone who is single for that
matter. Make use of this simple easy to follow decorations and you will surely stump the
guests in the very first visit.

Sliced Onion:
Onion may have a pungent smell hence to remove that add it to chilled salted water. This
reduces the bitter taste to some extent, the onions are a part of Indian cuisine they go well
with the chicken tikka masala and biryani recipes. You can make different decorations
from fresh onion, slice it finely and separate rings carefully. You can use it as a colorful
medium of red and black onion by rolling them in red pepper powder or black pepper

Tomato Rose:
Take a firm tomato for this decoration, start from the very tip and very carefully using a
sharpened knife make an incision on the top. Beginning at the top of a tomato, peel the
tomato skin with a sharp utility knife. The garnish works best if the peel is ¾" to 1" wide,
is a continuous peel, and the peel is thin with very little flesh attached. You have to
remove the skin in a circular manner, you will get a roll and when you place the top as
the base and rotate the skin you will get a beautiful rose shaped decoration.

Carrot curls:
Before slicing, use a vegetable peeler to cut a strip of the peeled carrot. The carrot strip
must be rolled and secured with a toothpick. Place in a cold glass of water in the
refrigerator. Wait 2 to 3 hours and remove from water. When toothpick is removed, the
peel should remain curled, stretch the curl out and place on the plate as a colorful garnish.



Well-planned, simple, cost-effective, and correctly portioned menus, presented
beautifully, seasoned to perfection with the correct textural features, cooked to the correct
degree, and served at the correct temperature, piping hot or cold, will 99% of the time
come out on top. But only if the kitchen team skills, utilization of resources, timing,
organization, smartness, showmanship, and cleanliness are beyond reproach.
The key to success is to maintain high standards and consistently monitoring the serving
line. After the food is cooked the most important job needs to be done is the presentation
and styling of that plate. It is rightly said that before you taste the food, your eyes taste it.
Keeping this in mind the presentation is done, the presentation should not only look good,
but also it should also act like a healthy accompaniment to the food served. Here are few
tips how the food should be treated after it has been cooked.
• Prepare food fresh with quality ingredients.
• Enforce progressive cooking in smaller batches; replenish food as needed, not in excess.
• Use the correct method for cooking, prepared by the recipe with attention to detail.
• Look for correct quantity in presentation and avoid too many garnishing ingredients.
• Use proper serving utensils like spoons, scoops, tongs and ladles.
• Control quantity and food cost.
• Plan ahead using food consumption index to project how much of an item you will need
to minimize food waste and leftovers.
• Pre-plate the items into smaller batches so you are ready to cook them in small batches
as needed to replenish the line.
• Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.
• Warmers and heat lamps should be in place and working.
• All products must be held and served at proper temperatures as per food service
• Cold displayed items should be put on ice or refrigerated.



• Plan and prepare garnishes ahead of time. Never give it the last thought, as this will
affect the quality of the food.
• Garnish only the food in the serving plates; keep garnishes off the rim of the plate.
• Practice moderate use of greens with accents of fresh fruit and vegetables.
• Plate up desserts when possible, keep vegetables garnish away from the dessert bar and
the flavors must compliment each other.
• Make garnishes durable enough to resist oxidation, heat, and cold temperatures.
• Always use garnish that is edible and it should be one of the ingredients used in the
main dish.
• Try and give height in the plate, this not only looks creative but makes feel the guest
that special care has been taken for styling hid/her plate, and the garnish should be edible
and nutritious.
• The vegetables used should be fresh, for example, in case of lettuce; the leaves should
be crunchy and not wilted.
• Alternate contrasting colors throughout the entire serving line; avoid using different
shapes and designs of plates at the same time.
• The plates served should be similar to the ones in which the replacement has to be
• Over or under cooked items should never be placed on the serving plate, they will leave
a bad impression about the management.
• The use of specialty breads, fruits and meats make great presentations and often boost
food acceptability.
• Try some trend setting taste changers to spice up your basic recipe like smoked
products, fresh herbs, and ethnic specialties.
• Keep all serving plates and related utensils clean and free from deformities.
• The dessert presentations can be made very impressive and can be given a new
dimension by adding different heights and varied sizes of serving plates and food.



The key to food presentation is to keep it simple and not make the dish appear to have
been prodded by 16 different people.

Food Presentation Dos

* keep it clean and simple

* use odd number of ingredients on the plate
* add hot sauces right at the end
* visualise what a dish will look like before arranging it on the plate
* cut things in half if they look too big

Food Preparation Dont's

* use herb garnishes unless they go with the dish

* go for looks rather than flavour
* clutter the plate
* serve the food cold because you spent too long dressing it
* move things around the plate once you have put them down, this will just make a

Ramsey also suggests imagining the plate as a clock face. Hot food tends to be served
with the meat or fish at 6 o'clock (ie near the base of the dish) with other ingredients at
three and nine. For cold food the main ingredient is usually put in the middle with the rest
dotted around it. A presentation ring helps for getting some height.


It is said that “First impression is the Last impression.” This means that the first
impression matters a lot. The same goes with food. The first impression that the guest has
of the dish is by seeing the food that he/she is going to eat. If the food is presented nicely
the impression is good otherwise the whole experience is spoilt. Thus, the presentation
and styling o food are really important in today’s scenario. The importance of taste is
understandable, but there is a sense, which is often ignored, which states that a pleasing
food presentation will help your other senses start to anticipate that something enjoyable
is about to happen.
Thus, it can be concluded that Presenting Food and Styling plate has become a trend and
should be taken care of to make sure that the guest is satisfied and is able to feast not only
himself but also his senses. And it can be said that “Good presentation is good selling.”


1. Miller, S. (2004), ‘Garrison Food service’.
2. Spevack, Y. (2005), ‘Organic food-your organic lifestyle magazine’.
4. Styler C., “Working the Plate- The Art of Food Presentation”, (2006), John Wiley &
Sons, New Jersey.
5. CIA, (2002), “The Professional Chef”, seventh edition, John Wiley & Sons.