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First impressions count, so plate your food well and leave a positive, lasting impression on diners even before the food touches their fork. In this article, we reveal food-plating techniques used by famous chefs around the world. Choose the ones you prefer and add a touch of class to your food presentation.

Chef Rick Bayless

Chef Rick Bayless

Plating secret: Arrange in odd numbers
Chef Rick Bayless has an interesting little secret to making dishes look extra special – serve up an odd number of items. It’s an unusual trick that actually works. So the next time you’re placing scallops on a plate, consider using three or five, instead of four or six. 

Chef Charlie Palmer

Chef Charlie Palmer

Plating secret: Create contrast with a white background
Chef Charlie Palmer claims that a brilliant white plate makes everything on it look infinitely better. The food textures and colours stand out more when placed on a pristine white plate, making the dish extremely visually appealing to diners.
 

Chef Todd English

Chef Todd English

Plating secret: Appeal to all the senses
As a chef and owner of multiple restaurants, Chef Todd English knows a thing or two about effective food presentation. His pet peeve? Using garnishes just for their colour. To him, plating food isn’t just about what we see with our eyes, but also what we smell and touch.

So before you add red pepper simply for that dash of striking red, think about whether its smell and taste complement the main dish. 

Chef Susur Lee

Chef Susur Lee

Plating secret: Use your plate as a canvas
Tapping into your artistic side is crucial when plating food, according to chef and restaurant owner Susur Lee.

He likes to use garnishes such as sprouts and sauces to frame his focal point. This creative chef also emphasises the importance of proportions and following your instincts. Finally, he recommends taking a step back and looking at your plate as if it were a work of art until you think it is beautiful enough to be served. 

Chef Wylie Dufresne

Chef Wylie Dufresne

Plating secret: Use non-traditional vessels
Hailing from New York City, this chef suggests going beyond typical serving styles such as plates and bowls. A striking example of what else you can use? A slate board to serve up your first course. 

Now, that’s stylish.

Chef Travis Swikard

Chef Travis Swikard

Plating secret: Get inspiration from nature
Chef Travis Swikard talks about creating food with passion and looking to nature for inspiration. She recommends using colours that reflect the various seasons and contrast them against each other to create a vibrant, nature-inspired dish that’s plated to visual perfection. 

Chef Kuniko Yagi

Chef Kuniko Yagi

Plating secret: Contrasting colours
When it comes to plating his food, the key factor in Chef Kuniko Yagi’s mind is colour. With every plate, he creates a balance of colours and recommends the same to other chefs. According to him, using contrasting colours brings a plated dish to life. 

Chef Thomas Keller

Chef Thomas Keller

Plating secret: Dress for the occasion, simple is beautiful
Chef Thomas Keller insists that food plating must be in line with the occasion. For instance, the way a chef plates a dish for a birthday party should be vastly different from how he plates for a Christmas dinner.

Another essential tip is that “less looks better” and simplicity is the way to go for classy, elegant food plating. 

Chef Susan Feniger

Chef Susan Feniger

Plating secret: Use the plate’s rim as a border, add height
Chef Susan Feniger, who co-owns several restaurants, gives us two excellent food plating tips.

First, she recommends using the plate’s outside rim as a border, like a picture frame, to frame a picturesque dish. She also advises chefs to consider adding height to their food to make their plate appear more varied and interesting.

What are your favourites?

Which of these plating techniques do you like the most? Give them a try and discover a style that is uniquely yours!