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TIP OF THE DAY: Plating Food As Art


Use your artist’s eye to plate food
beautifully. Photo courtesy National Arts
Centre | Ottowa.

  How can you make a work-of-art salad—the type presented by top restaurants?

It’s easy. Think of the plate as your canvas. You’re the artist who decides how to lay out the food.

This example is from Michael Blackie, Executive Chef of the National Arts Centre in Ottowa, Canada, which includes the restaurant Le Café.

Here, Chef Blackie took two salad ingredients—beets and blue cheese—and created a beautiful plate by slicing the components in contrasting shapes and adding textural ingredients:

  • Beets in different colors, in large and small sizes, sliced both horizontally and vertically
  • Chunks of blue cheese in different sizes and shapes
  • A yogurt and lemon zest dressing
  • Crisp panko bread crumbs, to dip the dressing-covered beets in
  • Steamed Swiss chard as the green element, lightly tossed in vinaigrette (asparagus, broccoli rabe or other seasonal greens can be used)
  •  
    Combine your own favorite fruits, vegetables and proteins, looking for color elements. We made a salad of mango, cubes and triangles of leftover ham, steamed asparagus with lemon zest, dried dates and goat cheese, switching out the panko for chopped pistachio nuts.

    The right dishes create the mood. You can use your round plates, of course. But we picked up affordable long rectangular plates in New York City’s Chinatown; alternatively, you can buy nine-inch-long versions online.

    Here’s a book on food styling that is highly recommended by Top Chef winners Hung Huynh and Stephanie Izard, as well as our favorite American chef, Grant Achatz of Chicago’s Alinea restaurant.

    This week’s assignment: Vary colors, textures, shapes and sizes, and create your own pieces of art. Let us know how it turned out.

      




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