I had a conversation recently with a fellow author/personal chef/cooking-school-trained friend about food presentation. (By the way, if you haven’t read Carolyn Hughey’s books you are missing out on some tasty treats!)
I was whining about how my food tasted okay, but that the “plating” (as the cooking shows call it) was mediocre on a good day. Let’s not talk about the bad days! Shudder!
I just sort of slop it onto plates and platters and bowls and hope people don’t notice because it smells so good. See, I think if I overwhelm one sense that deadens the others.
Carolyn pooh-poohed me. Of course I could do it. It consisted of a few simple techniques and an understanding of color, texture, and proportional sizing. I do get it--intellectually--but I can’t do it. I am convinced plating is a specialty area in the realm of art. Food porn at its best. I am not at all artistic.
Have I ever done a coulis? Well, inadvertently, I guess, when the chicken juice dribbles on the plate, though that is not technically a coulis. And I am known for the powdered-sugar brownie plate--but that is lack of aim, too.
I am thinking of having Alli and Gina deal with this in one of the cooking classes they teach in Prime Rib and Punishment. I can just imagine Alli giving the students directions on how to plate and then being challenged by one to show them not tell them. (Sound familiar, Authors?) A huge advantage to being a personal chef is you leave the prepackaged food for the client to “plate”.
At my house, we mostly avoid the issue of plating by serving company buffet style! Voilà! No one need know my little secret. Shhh!