Many Chefs can arrange food attractively without being able to explain why it is that they are selecting particular colors and shapes, or why they are positioning items in one place rather than another.
- Keep arrangements simple –elaborates designs are rarely worth the long time they take. While food is being handled in a warm kitchen, conditions are ideal for growth of harmful bacteria.
- Plan your arrangement in advance—good idea is to sketch the effect you want on a piece of paper. Try a central feature that the rest of the design leads into.
- Trim, prepare or cut food carefully—ragged cuts and uneven edges or mixtures of shapes look untidy. Try to keep everything roughly on the same size.
- Make the food easy to recognize —using cuts and
arrangements that improve the appearance of the food, but not disguise or hide it. Ingredients should not be chopped or minced so finely that they cannot be told apart.
- Consider how the food is to be eaten –sitting at a table, moving a about with a plate in one hand or with fingers only.
- Consider how the food is to be served— on the guest’s plate, on a dish presented at the table, on a large dish which many people help themselves to.
- Make the most of the serving dish—so that the shape and design of dish and food work to each other’s advantage. Doilies and napkins folded in special ways can add interest.
- Select the right sized dish—a large buffet filled with small dishes looks messy. If a single portion dish is too large, the food will look lost or too much have to be used.
- Don’t overload the serving dish—it should look full but not overcrowded.
- Use different colors—but not more than three as a rule because too many colors can create a messy effect. Sometimes, two or three shades of the same color can be very effective.
- Give variation to the height—food lying flat on the plate tends to look dull.
- Provide a focal point—something to catch the eye. This could be the main ingredient, placed in a prominent position or a related ingredient introduced because of its attractiveness. On a large food display, one dish can be the focal point or an arrangement of flowers can do the same.