You don’t have to be a professional chef or need extra time to plate a dish with a lot of love (see “plate like a pro”).
All home chefs should have a few tricks up their sleeves. We have some pro tricks in our recipes, and will keep this list below fluid, updating as new tricks are being incorporated into our dishes.
- think vertical – most people plate their dish flat, covering the entire plate. Look at the components of your meal, the flavors should be complimentary. Build up!
- add color – when you plan a meal, think of the colors that will be present, if there is too much of one color, what can you add for contrast? (This also ensures that a variety of fruits + veggies are in your diet.)
- fresh herbs – sprinkle them on! See our post “herbs + spices”.
- sauces – you don’t need a lot, just a drizzle on top or a smear on the plate, but what you use should be loaded with flavor.
- let meat rest – after cooking meat, it should rest for at least 10 minutes covered loosely with foil. If you cut into meat right after it has been removed from heat, all the natural juices in the meat will run out of it, rendering it dry. Wait 10 minutes before cutting, and that meat will thank you!
- cut on a bias – this is just as important as letting meat rest. If you cut meat on the grain, it will be tough to chew and not enjoyable. Cut it on the bias, or against the grain – find the direction of the grain (the direction of the fibers running though the meat) and then slice across the grain (instead of parallel to it) at a 45 degree angle.
- knife skills – when you prepare a meal, visualize how you want to plate it and cut the ingredients accordingly – are potatoes thinly sliced under the protein or are they cubed, roasted and placed on top? Is the meat served as one fillet or breast or is is cut and fanned out over a nice sauce or roasted vegetables?