7 Food Presentation Tricks to Bring the Restaurant Experience Home

A steak on a plate, covered with garnishes on a white tablecloth in a restaurant.
Pietruszka / Shutterstock

Creating a tasty meal is a task to be accomplished, but the same goes for gathering the ingredients to present an indulgent look. These seven presentation tips will help you bring back the restaurant experience to the home.

Veneer tools

Before talking about technology, let's talk about tools. The right tools help you develop your decorating skills. You probably already have some of these items, but otherwise they are all very cheap:

  • A squeeze bottle: If you've ever wondered how a chef got this whirlwind of chocolate drizzled over your dessert, it's probably from a squeezed bottle. You can use them to create more complex patterns or to place sauces and purées more intentionally on a plate.
  • A saucier spoon: These are convenient when you have to slide the sauce on a plate to create the right look. A good spoon is good, but if you do not have one or can not get one now, you can use a simple tablespoon (we did it in the sample photos in the next section ).
  • pliers: When you have to place the food in a dish carefully, the tongs are the solution. use smaller forceps for meals with delicate components.

7 presentation tips

You have the tools, you now need tips. Here are some simple but effective ways to improve your presentation game.

Size, shape and color of the plate

The color, shape and size of the plate affect the appearance of your meal. Sometimes you have to experiment until you find the size or shape that suits you best.

In general, a white plate brings out a brightly colored meal and a larger plate emphasizes the final design. A rectangular plate may be suitable for a meal, but a square plate may look more appealing with your main course, so try different combinations.

Always plate in odd numbers

When you assemble your dish with odd quantities, you get increased visual appeal. That's why restaurants usually serve finger foods in odd groups. You can bring this tip directly to the house in your own kitchen.

In addition, when you serve an odd number of servings, the dish gives the impression that it contains more, even if it is only one stuffed mushroom.

Make small portions

Eggplant Parmesan on a white square plate next to a glass of red wine.
Emilee Unterkoefler

Small portions tend to stick well, especially when they are prepared on a slightly larger dish. You want the eyes to focus on the central part of the meal, but also on the contrast between the food and the plate.

This can however be tricky because you also want to avoid too much white space. Play with different combinations until everything goes well.

Use colorful ingredients

The protein in your main course is always your focal point, but you can use brightly colored vegetables and sauces to create a nice background. Choose colors that work well together as it improves the appearance of your plate. People might think you are a chef!

Wearing gloves

When preparing ready-to-eat foods, be sure to wear gloves. This prevents germs on your hands from contaminating the meal. In addition, you will not leave any fingerprints on the edges of the plate.

Before sending a dish to your guests, check it carefully to make sure there are no food brands that do not belong. You can use a damp washcloth to carefully remove imperfections. Most restaurants do it so that your plate is perfect before it hits your table.

Beautify your plate with sauce

When you use the sauce on purpose, it makes all the difference when it comes to serving a delicious food platter. Use a tablespoon (or saucier) to spread the sauce on the plate or slide it down and create a breathtaking design. Check out the examples below that we created with a strawberry coulis.

To reproduce this pattern, place a spoonful of mashed potato and slide it on the plate with the side of your spoon. It's a stylish way to add flavor and visual appeal to your next dessert.

A spoonful of strawberry puree trailed on a white plate to create a pattern.
Emilee Unterkoefler

Use the same technique as described above, but this time, use the bottom of your spoon to slide it onto the plate. This design is more substantial, as shown below.

Strawberry mash design created by dragging the bottom part of a spoon onto the white plate.

You can also create a simple drawing if you spread the puree to follow the shape of your plate. When you use this technique on a traditional round plate, you get a beautiful comet-shaped bow, like the one below.

Strawberry mash design created by dragging the bottom of a spoon to give it the shape of a round and white plate.
Emilee Unterkoefler

If you are pouring a fine amount of puree, you can use the tip of your spoon to slide the zigzag sauce, as shown below. This fun design can add a little excitement to a simple dessert.

Strawberry puree design created by sprinkling the sauce and then dragging it with the tip of a spoon into a zigzag pattern on a white plate.
Emilee Unterkoefler

Something as simple as creating a pattern with a touch of sauce gives an immediate (and effortless) visual boost to your dish.

Complete your dish with a garnish

The toppings should always be edible, complete the flavors of your meal and give more appeal to your dish without distracting the attention of your interlocutor.

Before choosing a garnish for a plate, make sure it goes well with the meal and is small enough to be eaten with a single bite. Here are some easy trimmings that you can use on various dishes:

  • Fish and seafood: Place a lemon wedge on top.
  • Tasty poultry: Add a sprig of parsley.
  • Pasta with red sauce: Place three basil leaves.
  • Enchiladas or a pico de gallo: Add a sprig of coriander.
  • Roast turkey or roast turkey: Add a sprig of thyme or a sage leaf.
  • desserts: Use bright berries or shaved chocolate.

Even if your guests do not eat the filling, the visual is powerful and really dresses the plate.


Decorating your plate is a great way to bring pleasure into your kitchen. The next time you plan a dinner, choose your weeks menu in advance and practice some of these techniques before the big day.

Not only will you impress your guests, but you could even impress!

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