You can make the best souffle or whipped mousse ever but if you don’t know how to present it then no one will care.
McDonald’s made a fortune over putting a burger in a cardboard box, presentation matters.
Now everyone loves a good show, it’s the reason Benihana restaurants thrive, but otherwise food presentation ought to be exceedingly simple. Think about it, almost every restaurant serves you on white plates. This is because they create contrast that balances beautifully with the numerous colors you will pile onto the plate. Aside from white dishes, slabs of wood stand in as an excellent presentation base. It is because they harken back to earlier on in your food’s journey (a cutting board) or earlier on in man’s journey to civilization. Not to mention they’re quite chic and again provide contrast against the deep browns and reds of the meat that is served on them.
That “hipster” place you love that serves the food in all different vintage dishes that were handmade and painted? Still pretty simple in presentation. A plain color, that draws the eye in and stands stark against the food held within, and though it doesn’t match its other dishes they all pair nicely. In fact, the most ornate dishes I’ve seen are of the Mediterranean persuasion, and have deep royal blue contrasting with crisp white in swirling patterns with maybe a hint of yellow. The camera loves to pick up this color and contrast and anything green on those plates is sure to stand out. That is as intricate as plate coloring and design in professional restaurants get. Most, wouldn’t even dare for mismatched dishes or color at all (I think it’s kind of cute, distracts you from how little food there is on your plate).
As presentation is almost entirely made up of accenting empty space on a plate, it is important that that space be noted while not becoming the star (I took art in high school I know what I’m talking about). White plates allow for depth and intrigue that other colors often steal away. Think about it, you’re never taken aback by the way the white plate gleams when your food comes, you marvel at how the food stands out and is accentuated. However, you will probably find yourself distracted by a black or heavily painted dish, as it has its own *star power*. White plates also allow the chef to manipulate how much you think you are consuming, and therefore, paying for.
Too much space? Add a dollop of sauce, now the plate looks full
Too little space? (Never a complaint) but one can alway size up the plate and force you to believe that you ought to clean it. Maggiano’s, I’m looking at you.
By playing with size of the plate, concentration of ingredients, and overall how to “paint” the plate, chefs easily convince us that we are full, still hungry, or have just enough room for dessert. All of it comes back to that white plate though, who knew a plain jane could clean up so nice?
Now use your white plates to trick yourself into eating happily, and be good.