All Dressed Up: Pro Plating Tips and Ideas To Make a Dish Look Amazing

The art of cooking involves more than just making good tasting food. We eat with our eyes first and, to me, food almost always tastes better when it looks good. Don’t you agree?

Sure, you won’t always have extra time to focus on the overall look of your food. Especially if you just got done with a long day of work and you’re only cooking for yourself. But, when planning a dinner party or cooking up a feast for family and friends, these pro plating tips can help transform your dish into a gourmet looking meal!

Pick Your Plate

Your plate is the canvas and your food is the paint. Before you start creating gorgeous, edible art, take a moment to think about the shape, color, and size of your plate. It will have a direct impact on your meal.

Add A Splash Of Color

Balance brown foods like chicken and meat with something colorful, such as greens or other brightly colored veggies. If you’re planning chicken adobo with cauliflower rice, for example, serve it with broccoli and perhaps a few crispy and bright orange pumpkin slices.

Play With Texture

Varying texture not only excites your taste buds, but it also pleases the eye! Think about a plain pecan pate vs. a pate served with crispy onions and a drizzle of reduced balsamic – or even a splash of oil on the plate. Adding a sauce and something crunch on top makes for a far more interesting presentation.

Odd Is Interesting

While a lot of people tend to plate up an even number of bites, odd groupings of three, five, or even seven are more visually appealing. Something about the lack of balance peaks our interest.

Aim High

Height adds dimension and depth to a plate. So, after your main protein is placed, think about ways you can layer. Adding a mound of airy alfalfa sprouts, crispy onions, or dehydrated carrots are just a few ideas!

Great Garnishes

Picture a juicy salmon filet resting on top of a round, thin layer of pesto. Now, imagine a carefully-placed sprig of cilantro decorating the plate. Doesn’t that make the dish pop? Adding a simple yet appealing garnish is another great way to elevate your plate. But, when adding a garnish, make sure it has a purpose and the taste pairs well with your food.


Want even more tips to make your meals exquisite? Check out my cookbook FOOD YOU WANT For The Life You Crave! Along with 100+ flexible recipes, the pages are peppers with success strategies and hacks to make meals (from single servings to party platters) a success!