Paper plates and eating from take-out boxes was almost nonexistent in my home growing up because my mother always emphasized, presentation matters. It's become my mantra when it comes to food. Presentation can play tricks on your mind; making a mediocre dish taste delicious (and totally worth the $30 you paid for it). These are my five tricks to help you make sure you have the best presentation for your food:
1. Divert the eye!
Let's face facts, not all food is pretty. One of my absolute favorite meals has never been extremely appetizing to the eye, but because I've already had it I know how amazing it is. I get too nervous to serve it at dinner parties because I know it doesn't look as great as it tastes. So how do you make sure people don't think you're serving them dog food? Divert their eye! Change up the way you would logically think to plate your dish, and make something else the centerpiece.
2. Deconstruct it!
Sometimes food looks way prettier before it's put together. Obviously, you can't deconstruct enchiladas or soup, but separating your ingredients can make the dish more versatile by letting the consumer control how much of each item goes in. Make sure it's not too much work for them, though! Otherwise they'll feel like they could've made their own dinner at home for the same amount of effort.
3. Garnish is your [best] friend
Pick a contrasting garnish (in color) to add to your dish. It's like adding accessories to an outfit; it completes the look. One to two garnishes can quickly elevate any dish, but don't go past two or it may start to look like a hash.
4. Let them see what's inside
If your dish has beautiful ingredients that get hidden once it's put together, make sure you serve your food open face so your audience can see what's inside! Smashed avocado may not look as appetizing as evenly laid out slices. Onion rings can keep their form if you place the top of the bun to the side. Show off all the yummy ingredients!
5. Drizzle the sauce on the plate
Whether you drizzle or do the "shooting star" trick, adding sauce to a plate in a creative way makes the dish look more expensive. Even though this may be more for aesthetics than function, it creates interesting negative space that draws the eye in.