Consider Serving Food In Layers For More Efficient Dinner Parties

Serving your menu items hot from the oven at dinner parties is always a bit of a challenge. The guests are talking and laughing, the music is playing, and the wine is flowing. How do you streamline the service so your events are more efficient? While there are many hostess hacks that can help, a stylish presentation that focuses on serving food in layers is the most efficient approach. Layering enhances the visual appeal of courses at dinner parties because we begin to appreciate foods with our eyes.

In its simplest sense, placing protein over starch is a traditional layering method. Identify foods that are natural companions, like turkey and stuffing, or meatloaf and mashed potatoes. Stack them on decorative platters so guests can help themselves, family style. Keep having fun and experimenting — how about salmon on a bed of couscous or steak topped with Bearnaise and asparagus spears on a diagonal? Layering the components of a dish gives you the creative freedom to play with height and increase the complexity of flavors, too, as properly plated food appeals to multiple senses. Alternating textures lets you secure a base layer, like a vegetable puree, and connect it to the stable central layer, which is the bridge to both your top and bottom layers. The top layer of your dish can be stacked or leaned against the middle layer and can even add a surprise crunch.

Creating culinary art as you serve food in layers

When you're building layers of flavor, your options are infinite. Don't be hesitant to try out individually plated layered dishes, too. Think of yourself as a food artist, with the blank plate as your canvas and your ingredients as your medium. Your layers will become a culinary work of sensory art. Pick your palette and pair flavors together. Your choices of layered colors and textures will grab and hold your guests' attention. 

You might plate a starch that will hold its shape, such as quinoa, and pipe out a layer of roasted vegetables with natural ridges and twists. But you're not done — frame the final layer of bacon bits by drizzling sauce in decorative swirls. Want some additional ideas for serving food in layers? A real crowd-pleaser is boneless chicken wings on a bed of tabbouleh with a topping of herb-infused sour cream. Try grilled mussels over baby greens with hot garlic bread draped over it all. A stack of zucchini fritters with a central layer of cinnamon-fried apples and a top layer of fresh snow pea shoots will delight your vegetarian guests. Creating height like this adds excitement and dimension to your dishes; just make sure that a hint of each layer shows through each succeeding layer.