Our survival depends on resources like food, water, and air. In order to function, we need to make nutritional input to our organism. The definition of food can sound very simple so why we have so many variations when it comes to the food.
Food tells a story
Food tells a lot about the culture, habits, beliefs, local nature, and wildlife. When you get a dish served in front of you, you can see the story behind it. You can see where it comes from, and habits of local people. Cooking has always been an art, but nowadays we get more and more attention to it. Eating can truly be a journey for all of our senses, not just for taste buds. Presentation is a very important part of the process, and visuals can change the experience entirely.
I am Amanda Lahens and I have dedicated my life and professional career to the exploration of food and culinary art. I have graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and worked almost every position in the kitchen. Beginnings were hard, but I never had second doubts about my call. Through years I have learned, explored, and searched for new ways to improve my skills. I always aimed for the top; I wanted to be a perfect chef, and in order to become the best out of the best I had to visit the birthplaces of amazing cuisines. Therefore, I put my professional plans on hold, grab my backpack and started my journey that I am happy to share with you. My travel stories will be covered in the blog and the focus of my website is to express my opinion on the importance of the food presentation.
Gastronomy travel and exploration
As previously mentioned I have spent quite a long time traveling the world and exploring different cuisines. I was deeply touched by the wonders that I witnessed. Little did I know that the world holds such amazing beauty, like Blue Lagoon trip in Croatia. I won’t go into details about it (in this post), but if you want to see more about it you can do it on the official trip page. Good thing is it’s only 30minutes speedboat ride away from Split. Half day trips like that are perfect getaway from the city crowds. Anyways, here is a link where you can see all the details about this day trip: Zentravel Croatia. Traveling is definitely worth every cent, as you don’t get to learn anywhere as much as you can learn in this way. Local cuisines gave me inspiration; local people taught me things that I would never be able to learn about.
The best example is the Mediterranean cuisine. As industry professionals, we are always striving to achieve perfection. We are trying to make the craziest combinations of the ingredients in order to get a perfect dish. I arrived in the beautiful city on the Adriatic coast, and I was thinking to myself, what are the best things to do in Split, Croatia. I won’t go into too much details about it here, but in case you want to know more, here is a guide that geatures 48 things to see while in Split. I realized, there are small fisherman towns around so I visited one. I got a lesson about life, fishing, cooking, and an amazing glass of homemade wine. There were a few ingredients, and the presentation was perfect. We grilled freshly caught fish and served it with sea salt, homemade olive oil accompanied by a glass of the nicest wine. Simplicity, organic, natural ingredients, and sparkle of love is all you need for a perfect dish.
Visual experience in the plate
Many people do not share our passion for food, and that is very OK. However, those who have that spark when it comes to gastronomy are very hard to please. Ingredients must be perfect, spices must be at a perfect balance, flavors have to melt in a perfect blend, and you have to pair it with a perfect drink. To top it all presentation must be at the highest level. When you are serving your dish, you want the presentation to be perfect because it is a part of the experience. The creation of visual experience takes a lot of practice, experience, and even talent but you can work on your skills by learning about the food presentation and plating techniques.
Food presentation and plating techniques
Food presentation is very important as it has allowed chefs to creatively express themselves, and to impress guests, and to provide the added value to the mail that the customer is paying. Food presentation and plating can enhance the overall experience because let us be honest, we do tend to eat with our eyes and we do like to post pretty pictures on the social networks. Bad presentation of the dish can truly ruin the entire experience and it is just bad when you ruin a perfectly cooked meal with sloppy plating.
When you are planning the presentation of the dish, you need to keep in mind what type of cuisine you are serving, and what flavors are coming with it. You need to have all the ingredients prepared, and plating the dish should be the icing on the cake. Usually, protein in the dish is prepared last, but everything else should be done. You need to know and consider portion sizes in order to balance protein, vegetables, and carbohydrates. Make sure that your presentation does not overpower the taste of the mail, as sole presentation without any quality to the meal does not do any good.
How to create a beautiful plate
You need to choose a perfect plate! Every aspect of the plate visual must be taken in mind. You need to select the right shape, proper size, and color that compliments your dish. Topoware is an amazingly interesting concept that took inspiration in topographic maps, and elevations in the landscape. We could consider this concept as going 3D with the shape of the plate. Bringing levels to the table, you are creating a new dimension to the game.
The next thing to do is to place your ingredients. There are many tips and tricks on how to do it and I will try to explain the most important things. First of all, you should place ingredients in the right order, and picturing a clock can help you with it. Protein needs to be between 3 and 9m carbs from 9 to 12, and veggies from 12 to 3. Every moist ingredient needs to be served as the base of the dish and avoid overcrowding your plate. My favorite rule is to always serve odd amounts of food! It creates more of the visual appeal, and your mind is being tricked to think that you are getting more food.
Make sure to pay attention to details. In this step, you need to take care of the visuals. My focus is to make sure that I have color, contrast, and volume to the plate. Using sauce is not just to pour it all over the dish but to paint the plate!, Adding texture is the final touch that makes your dish perfect, and if you decide to finish everything with the garnishes, choose edible ones.
In the end, all I can say that practice makes it perfect!