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Making it Look Good III

Getting your dishes to stack up. Or at least plating your dishes in layers. There are usually two ways to serve a dish on a plate; low and wide or stacked / layered. Low is not always the most attractive looking dishes. In these cases we often utilize a small deep dish like our spinach curry. In some cases the food itself has an interesting shape that can be played with as is the case with the rolls below.

If you are serving an item that has an interesting shape already then the garnishing and plate are the only place you can get creative. Many times food item will have a sauce that goes with it. So plate my be the only place to create. If there is no side sauce in that case it’s up to you add the frills. Then some decorative sauce or cream in the bottom or drizzled over the top can be applied.

Let's say you were to serve some nut-meatballs for instance. place them in a deep center plate and pour a creamy gravy over the top letting it pool in the bottom.

This creates layers and textures much more tantalizing than the meatballs alone. Then you can sprinkle a contrasting color like red of paprika, cayenne pepper, chopped tomato or red onions. You can also go darker like caramelized onions, olive or black pepper.

My favorite is actually layering dishes. Say for instance putting a sauce or gravy in the bottom then the bulkiest item, then toppings, then garnishes. So looking back at the photo below from the Using Leftovers post you can see how I built up a dish from all the parts.

Sometime parts can be next to each other rather than on top but the end product should have a high point from the toppings and or Garnishes. Giving dishes height and concentrating the food to the center of the plate showcases all the tasty elements that awaits under each layer while creating the anticipation of biting into it's many textures.
Another sample would be to stuff a tomato, bell pepper or pan squash like in the next photo.

A simple and tasty dish that is not to big in diameter but can stack up really nicely. Topping them off with chunks of tomato or sprouts will give to food the appearance it is reaching right up to you.

Desserts are also great for layering. Even for something as simple as Ice Cream you can put a sauce in the bottom then your Ice Cream, then a fruit or chocolate sauce and finally a mint leaf. You can also berries, chopped fruit or a sprinkle some nuts.

Fruits also inherently lend themselves to decorating because of their fantastic colors and shapes.
If your not stacking your elements to create the final dish then decorating a centerpiece with sliced fruit topped with a cashew cream can look really tempting.
All in all a price of fruit, a sprig of dill, a sprinkle of Cayenne can go a long way in changing haw a dish looks.

Till next week
Raw Chef Dan



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