The Basics of Plating – Ways to Present Food Like a Chef

The Basics of Plating – Ways to Present Food Like a Chef

A little-known fact about my husband, he’s a trained Chef. In his previous life, he worked under a famous Chef at a Michelin-starred restaurant in New York City. Needless to say, he’s the cook in our family.

One of the things I admire and have taking notes on is how meticulous he is about presentation. His motto, part of serving great food is presentation: like the antipasto pictured below, it should appeal to your mouth, nose and eyes. Don’t they deserve a feast, too?

You don’t have to be a trained chef to learn the basics of plating, which is the art of presenting food in an attractive way. Don’t worry, it’s not about making butter sculptures or radish animals, at least not for me. Here are a few simple ways I’ve learned from my husband on how to present your meals like a pro.

  1. Set the table. This is one of the boys’ daily tasks.  We’re a casual family so we try to keep things minimal.

  1. Choose your plates wisely. Make sure your serving plates are big enough to let each food item stand out, but small enough that the portions don’t look tiny.

  1. Read the clock!A foolproof way to arrange food on a plate is to place the carbohydrate (rice, pasta, bread, etc.) at “11 o’clock,” the vegetables at “2 o’clock,” and the protein at “6 o’clock” from the diner’s point of view.

  1. Be odd. Don’t be strange, but things generally look more interesting when they’re in sets of odd numbers, rather than even numbers. So, if you’re serving shrimp or stuffed mushrooms, put five on each plate, rather than six. Don’t worry about counting out peas though.
  2. Play with Height.This Chicken Stir Fry with Broccoli looks more interesting because of the high mound of rice sitting next to it.            


Remember, yours eyes, should enjoy the meal as much as your tongue.





  1. Very cool! I need to think about this more when serving food!

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