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Does food plating and presentation actually matter?

In short, yes. 

The way you present your food is what tempts clients to try a dish. We eat with our senses: what we see, smell, and feel.  A study from Oxford gastrophysicist, Professor Charles Spence, suggests that the food presentation can actually make a dish taste better. 

In the study, Spence gave 60 people 3 salads and asked them to rate each one before and after they ate them. The salads each used the same ingredients but presented them in different ways. One salad was put together with no regard given to presentation, one was neatly arranged, and the third was plated to resemble a painting by artist Wassily Kandinsky. Can you guess which salad diners liked best? 

It was the salad that resembled a painting. 

Diners thought it tasted better (29% tastier to be precise), even though it used the exact same ingredients. Spence’s study concluded that consumers were much happier and appreciated the meal when presentation was forefront.

Even basic dishes like a salad can benefit from thoughtful presentation—it makes the dish seem more appetizing and valuable. 

We talked to chefs Daniel England, Joyce Tang, Tanner Agar, Jim Solomon, Michael Welch, and Brian Poe to learn their favorite food plating and presentation techniques. Each technique focuses on five key food presentation factors: color, arrangement, balance, texture, and how easy it is for guests to eat. 

Food presentation and plating techniques

Create height on the plate

Cut meat horizontally

Play with textures

Use contrasting colors

Use edible garnishes and decorations

Choose the right plates

Express yourself

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