Your views on food arrangements?

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Your views on food arrangements?

Postby Larry Greenly » Sun Nov 12, 2006 12:25 pm

Okay, gang. Let's hear how you prefer to arrange food on a plate.

I typically place three things on a plate. For example, last night I plated sauteed chicken breast with mole sauce garnished with salted, roasted pumpkin seeds; edamame; and short grain rice, and washed down with Yellow Tail pinot grigio.

It was a nice triad of colors and tastes. How would you arrange this and other plates of food? And how do you prefer to place the meat (or other main dish) relative to the eater?
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Re: Your views on food arrangements?

Postby David Creighton » Sun Nov 12, 2006 1:58 pm

i like an attractive plate and try to do my best. the only thing i really object to is when a restaurant stacks everything on top of each other. HATE IT!
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Re: Your views on food arrangements?

Postby Karen/NoCA » Sun Nov 12, 2006 3:14 pm

It depends if I am serving at a dinner party or just a meal at home for the two of us. My fun foodie thing is color. I love to make my guest meals as colorful as I can. I enjoy seeing their faces when I put out my roasted veggie dish which has purple, yellow, red potatoes, red and yellow bells, with onion and garlic. I make colorful salads, as well, and always try my best to place all food with eye appeal on the plate. For guest meals, I like having two veggies, using different colors, of course.
Our at home meals, I have lots of color, and my husband always compliments me on our pretty, eye popping meals, so I guess I'm doing ok.
I tried the design thing, stacking food, putting food on sauces, garnishes, etc., but it all makes me nervous. I do much better working with color and simple presentations.
I usually place the plate with the meat/fish/poultry in front, but a little offset towards the side.
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Re: Your views on food arrangements?

Postby Jenise » Sun Nov 12, 2006 4:24 pm

Larry, that sounds like an excellent presentation, with the edamame and pumpkin seeds you added color and texture both visually and in flavor. If I had been making your dish, since you asked, I'd have put the rice somewhat near the middle of the plate and parked the chicken on it. I like the snug look of food toward the middle and away from the rims, and I don't like the food to slide on it's way to the table. The rich colors of the mole sauce and the duo of green contrasts would have been good. I don't know if you served the edamame as a side dish--I'd have probably sprinkled them around the rest of the food, or even folded them into the rice.

Which supports my general preference for twosomes. I don't mind three four or five things on the plate, but I prefer two main portions, again toward the center of the plate, and all other items as accents which means I'll utilize stacking and parking techniques to achieve a balanced design with shape and color. One thing I'll never do is your standard three-plop presentation: meat in one corner, starch in another and vegetables in another. It reminds me of school cafeteria food, or TV dinners.

I love to plate food. And as I prepare my meal, I'm thinking throughout how it's all going to look on the plate so extra touches are very important.
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Re: Your views on food arrangements?

Postby Bob Ross » Sun Nov 12, 2006 11:39 pm

I like plating foods for Janet and me for a couple of reasons. Most importantly, I'm still relatively inexperienced and invariably clumsy, so almost always one of the mains looks better than the other, so I can make Janet's look prettier.

Generally, I plate with three items, the main at the top with the two sides on nearer the edge of the table. Like Jenise, I try to stay an inch or so from the inner rim of the plate. If I'm adding a condiment, I tend to put it in the center of the plate.

On a few regular dishes that don't fit the normal main and two sides dinner, I add my plating preference to the recipe -- for example this entry from a trout salad Janet loves:

9. Plate the salad by creating a small bed of the spinach-asparagus mixture in the center of the plate, surrounded by 3 dollops of the warm [red] lentils. Place two trout fillets on top of the spinach mixture. Drizzle with the balsamic glaze.

From time to time I re-read my notes from the CIA course on presentation that I took a few years ago.

One area I re-read more often: saucing.

Maintain the temperature of the sauce
Consider the texture of the food being served.
Serve below if the main course is attractive; serve over the main course if the sauce is attractive or if the main course is not.
Serve enough, but not too much. In doubt, add less, and serve the sauce on the side.


In fact, I always serve more sauce on the side -- Janet is unpredictable in many ways, including how much sauce she'll like.
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Re: Your views on food arrangements?

Postby ChefCarey » Mon Nov 13, 2006 8:18 am

>Okay, gang. Let's hear how you prefer to arrange food on a plate.

Intuitively.
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Re: Your views on food arrangements?

Postby Howie Hart » Mon Nov 13, 2006 9:27 am

Bob Ross wrote:....Generally, I plate with three items, the main at the top with the two sides on nearer the edge of the table....
Generally, I do the opposite, with the main closer to the edge of the table. My reasoning is that the main usually requires eating with knife and fork, whereas the sides usually require only a fork. With the main farther away from the eater, one then has to reach over the sides to cut it up. That being said, I seldom plate meals, as I ususally serve family style, with serving plates and bowls passed around the table. :P
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Re: Your views on food arrangements?

Postby Robin Garr » Mon Nov 13, 2006 9:38 am

ChefCarey wrote:Intuitively.


Nice! I wish I had thought to say that ...
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Re: Your views on food arrangements?

Postby Bob Ross » Mon Nov 13, 2006 11:22 am

"Generally, I do the opposite..."

Janet likes tasting the sides before the main, Howie, so that's the way I serve her. She sometimes turns the plate later, but usually not.

I'm more of a main taster, so I turn it the way you do.

I enjoy plating -- there's a bit of artistry involved, so for up to six people, I plate. Otherwise family style.
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Re: Your views on food arrangements?

Postby Bob Ross » Mon Nov 13, 2006 11:24 am

"Intuitively."

Easy for you and Chef to say as experienced chefs/cooks, guys. :)

My "intuitive" looks like a campers nightmare -- tastes great, but it's a good thing there's only a bit of flickering light for the looks department.
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Re: Your views on food arrangements?

Postby Larry Greenly » Mon Nov 13, 2006 11:42 am

"Intuitively" kinda leaves out the discussion in Food Lovers Discussion Group, doesn't it?
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Re: Your views on food arrangements?

Postby Robin Garr » Mon Nov 13, 2006 12:58 pm

Larry Greenly wrote:"Intuitively" kinda leaves out the discussion in Food Lovers Discussion Group, doesn't it?


Didn't really mean it that way, Larry ... :)

To restate it slightly, I never plate with a plan or a pattern, but usually just eyeball the elements on the plate and set it up so the design is simple, balanced and, to my eyes, attractive. I'm not really into squirt-bottle swashes or "BAMming" the dish with itty bitty bits of herbs, parsley or tiny bell pepper brunoise, although I can admire this when I see it in a restaurant and am not above doing it for guests.

But honestly, I just follow the "I don't know art but know what I like" principle and try to place the portions <i>du jour</i> on the plate in a way that looks attractive, and I'm not sure I could isolate any guiding principles. I assumed that's what Joseph meant by "intuitive," and I was compelled to agree with him.
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Re: Your views on food arrangements?

Postby Jenise » Mon Nov 13, 2006 4:48 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
ChefCarey wrote:Intuitively.


Nice! I wish I had thought to say that ...


Ditto.
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Re: Your views on food arrangements?

Postby Howie Hart » Mon Nov 13, 2006 5:15 pm

Robin Garr wrote:...I just follow the "I don't know art but know what I like" principle...

Reminds me of a cartoon I read many years ago. Three judges in their robes at the bench. One says "I don't know pornography, but know what I like". :?
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Re: Your views on food arrangements?

Postby Larry Greenly » Mon Nov 13, 2006 5:26 pm

Robin Garr wrote:
Larry Greenly wrote:"Intuitively" kinda leaves out the discussion in Food Lovers Discussion Group, doesn't it?


Didn't really mean it that way, Larry ... :)

To restate it slightly, I never plate with a plan or a pattern, but usually just eyeball the elements on the plate and set it up so the design is simple, balanced and, to my eyes, attractive. I'm not really into squirt-bottle swashes or "BAMming" the dish with itty bitty bits of herbs, parsley or tiny bell pepper brunoise, although I can admire this when I see it in a restaurant and am not above doing it for guests.

But honestly, I just follow the "I don't know art but know what I like" principle and try to place the portions <i>du jour</i> on the plate in a way that looks attractive, and I'm not sure I could isolate any guiding principles. I assumed that's what Joseph meant by "intuitive," and I was compelled to agree with him.


Much better. We all do things intuitively once we learn some basic rules (we have to start somewhere). And I bet there are some rules of thumb of some sort in culinary schools. Like don't put all-white food on a white dish (and don't pile up a bunch of food like I do at an all-you-can-eat buffet!).

I like a balance of contrasting colors. For example, my dinner was white, brown and green--very attractive to the eye.

And to Jenise: I had to sit on my hands so I wouldn't tell you that I reuse tv trays to plate my fancy redneck meals. :lol:
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Re: Your views on food arrangements?

Postby Jenise » Mon Nov 13, 2006 5:41 pm

Larr-dog said:
And to Jenise: I had to sit on my hands so I wouldn't tell you that I reuse tv trays to plate my fancy redneck meals.


Three compartment or four? :)
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Re: Your views on food arrangements?

Postby Larry Greenly » Mon Nov 13, 2006 5:44 pm

I use the 4-compartment Marie Callendar tv dinner trays only for important people, like the president.
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Re: Your views on food arrangements?

Postby ChefCarey » Mon Nov 13, 2006 6:48 pm

Larry Greenly wrote:"Intuitively" kinda leaves out the discussion in Food Lovers Discussion Group, doesn't it?


Doesn't seem to have put a damper on it. Discussion seems spirited enough. You asked, I answered.

While I believe I can teach literally *anyone* *how* to *cook,* there is a certain element of nature as opposed to nurture involved in my profession.
This may be one of those areas where nurture ain't necessarily the answer.
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Re: Your views on food arrangements?

Postby Larry Greenly » Mon Nov 13, 2006 9:54 pm

Okay. :!:
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Re: Your views on food arrangements?

Postby Jenise » Wed Nov 15, 2006 11:24 am

Larry Greenly wrote:I use the 4-compartment Marie Callendar tv dinner trays only for important people, like the president.


Well I guess that what settles the matter of what would be in the fourth compartment, and it's not pretty....
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