If you own a restaurant or catering service, you may have heard a thing or two about presentation, or the importance of artistically arranging appetizers, main courses, and desserts on a plate. While many regard presentation as important, if you asked them why they would most likely answer for appearances, professionalism, or to demonstrate attention to detail. A new study suggests it’s not all about looks. The right arrangement can improve taste, too. The study, conducted by psychologists at the University of Oxford, tested diners’ preferences for certain menu items based on taste and aesthetics. The vast majority of diners agreed: the food artfully arranged tasted better.
The study leave us with some questions. Is it all in diners’ heads? Does the food really taste better, or do they just perceive it that way? No matter what, developing strong presentation skills will only benefit you and your company. Here are a few pointers.
Odds Over Evens
In almost all cases — whether you are arranging mushrooms or edible crystallized rose petals (typically coated with egg whites and sugar) — three will look better than four, five will look better than six, and so on. Odd numbers are just more visually pleasing, and that’s that.
Manipulate Colors And Textures
If dishes are all one color — or, worse, if they look unpleasantly soggy or dry — your presentation is going to suffer. A simple solution is to play with color and texture. Contrast cocktails with bright microgreens or specialty produce greens and shoots. Liven up butternut or squash soup with precisely placed greens or edible flower petals.
Remember The Star Of The Meal
When plating, always think about the star of the dish, appetizer, or dessert. Use greens and edible crystallized rose petals with a light hand. They should add color, texture, and interest, but they should never distract from the protein or dessert.
Presentation is key. Liven up jellies, soups, salads, syrups, desserts, drinks, and main dishes with microgreens or elegant flower petals.