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The 5 basic elements of plating

1. Create a framework

Start with drawings and sketches to visualise the plate. Find inspiration from a
picture or object. Assemble a “practice plate” to work on executing your vision.

2. Keep it simple

Select one ingredient to focus on and use space to simplify the presentation.
Clutter distracts from the main elements of your dish and might make it
confusing for the diners to figure out what to focus on.

3. Balance the dish

Play with colours, shapes and textures to ensure diners are not overwhelmed.
The presentation should never overpower flavour and function.

4. Get the right portion size

Ensure that there is the right amount of ingredients, and that the plate
complements the dish – not too big or small. Strike the right proportion of
protein, carbohydrates and vegetables to create a nutritionally balanced meal.

5. Highlight the key ingredient

Ensure the main ingredient stands out, but also pay equal attention to other
elements on the plate such as garnishes, sauces and even the plate itself.

The Art of Garnishing Your Plates

Drizzle your sauces

The delicate, skilful application of sauce
can differentiate a culinary chef’s
masterpiece from a regular cook’s plate.
Create accents in the form of dots on the
side of the plate. When applying sauce,
lightly pour or drizzle it on the plate – either
over the dish or underneath. With sauces,
less is more.
Garnishes serve as an accent to
perk up or highlight the colour of
the main dish. It’s meant to
enhance and match the flavours of
the dish, not overpower it.

Here are some simple guidelines

to keep in mind when applying

Do not heap garnish on one

corner of the plate
Provide a flash of colour by arranging simple and complementary garnishes
around the main dish
Garnishes should always be edible, so avoid using parsley flowers, lemon
twists, cinnamon sticks or raw herbs
Apply your garnishes quickly, so you can ensure food arrives at diners’ tables

Moulded ingredients
Delight diners by serving up works of art – culinary art – with moulded
ingredients. Cleverly cut or
sculpted ingredients can enhance
the visual appeal of dishes and
make it Instagram-worthy. For
example, slicing fillets of meat on
the bias is one easy way to show
doneness and quality. Sculpted
food adds distinct features to your
dish, such as height and
structure, while keeping the plate
neat and clean.