When Plating Food, Use The Clock Technique For An Enticing Look

Whether you're setting out muffins you've just taken out of the oven or plating an assortment of home-cooked recipes onto one plate, presentation matters as you set your culinary work on the table. Before your gastronomic creations reach the mouths of eager diners, the aesthetics of your cooking can influence the perception of how the food will taste. However, even if you're not a trained culinary professional, here's one important plating trick to set you up for success: Think of your plate like the face of a clock.

This easy technique can help you practice creating an appealing set-up before you progress and experiment with more artistic designs. Particularly when you are plating three separate dishes like a main and two sides, consider separating the plate itself into sections. You'll want to set the protein or main event of your meal towards the bottom of the plate, somewhere in the three and nine o'clock section. The top portion of your plate can then be used to place your mashed potatoes or lay the vegetables you've prepared to serve alongside your meal. 

Using tips from culinary professionals at home

After you become more practiced with arranging dishes and gain confidence in plating dishes, you can experiment with different styles and trends to make presentations that range from more simple and minimalistic to a bit more wild and interpretive. Use various cooking oils and thicker balsamic vinegars to drizzle lines across the surface of ingredients or try stacking ingredients to build layers and add depth to plates. Simple, quick sprinkles of freshly ground herbs, cracked black pepper, and crunchy sea salt can also add a boost of aesthetic appeal that can efficiently finish a dish. 

If you're not feeling up to creative culinary experimentation, focus on the image of a clock and be careful not to overcrowd plates with piles of ingredients. When plates are balanced in thirds, sauces can be used to tie all of the elements together and create a presentation that is nearly worthy of a Michelin-star rating.