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What's the next big thing in plating?


Kim Shook
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Plating of meals in restaurants seems to change as often as styles in the rest of the world. I remember when everything - apps, mains and desserts was stacked as high as possible, with swords of something edible stuck through the tower so that it could make it to table without toppling. Visually stunning, but hard to eat.

I don't know what chefs are doing everywhere else, but in my area everyone seems to be doing the same thing and I'm tired of it. Big giant plates with a squiggle or smear of sirachi (does sirachi really go with everything?) and a littering of anonymous vegetable and herb bits.

I'm ready for the next thing. So, restaurant folks, stylists - what's up? What are people in NY and SF and elsewhere more cosmopolitan than Richmond, VA seeing? Maybe a retro plate? A lemon half in net panties and a big wad of curly parsley? :raz:

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I think plating should always be a second thought... not something that inspires the dish itself...

That being said, I really like the way restaurants use barely set jellies in tiny colorful bits to cover the base of the plate. Each jelly (made of herbs, vegetables, stocks...) slowly becomes a sauce as it melts in contact with the food. It works particularly well for lighter dishes in the summer. I'm sure I can easily grow tired of it when everyone ends up doing the same thing though.

Edited by Magictofu (log)
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The new kid on the block is using the Indian thali platter as inspiration - but the individual dishes are heathware. You get 8 or so small plates all at once on a round platter, to eat as you please. Did not wow me.

I'd like to see someone use banana leaves as plates - with dishes brought out in order and served properly!

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The new kid on the block is using the Indian thali platter as inspiration - but the individual dishes are heathware. You get 8 or so small plates all at once on a round platter, to eat as you please. Did not wow me.

I'd like to see someone use banana leaves as plates - with dishes brought out in order and served properly!

we used the hosta in our garden for the entree one night.

gallery_55708_6042_174968.jpg

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  • 3 weeks later...

Dine on Design

Here is a link to a dinner I recently did. It took place during design and fashion week in NYC and was collaboration between seven different designers and myself. They created the service pieces and I styled the menu around the plates. Most of the items were a little standard

Ryan Jaronik

Executive Chef

Monkey Town

NYC

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Plating of meals in restaurants seems to change as often as styles in the rest of the world.  I remember when everything - apps, mains and desserts was stacked as high as possible, with swords of something edible stuck through the tower so that it could make it to table without toppling.  Visually stunning, but hard to eat. 

I don't know what chefs are doing everywhere else, but in my area everyone seems to be doing the same thing and I'm tired of it.  Big giant plates with a squiggle or smear of sirachi (does sirachi really go with everything?) and a littering of anonymous vegetable and herb bits. 

I'm ready for the next thing.  So, restaurant folks, stylists - what's up?  What are people in NY and SF and elsewhere more cosmopolitan than Richmond, VA seeing?  Maybe a retro plate?  A lemon half in net panties and a big wad of curly parsley?  :raz:

It seems that Grant Atchaz (Alinea) in colaberation with Martin Kastner of Crucial Detail seem to be setting the standards in service wear and food presentation.

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all of these styles have been around for a long time. Stacking has been around since ferdinand point. And the style you are describing is sort of a mixture of japanese and what people claim to be spanish styling but really the style that is referred to as "spanish" is actually a knock off of modern italian plating that I guess never really pushed its way out with "star chefs".

I like this style of plating but when people copy it they don't always know what they are doing. So people just thrown little sprigs of micro greens on a plate just because they have seen other people do it. Putting micro beet greens on a plate that has beets makes sense, but putting them on a plate with a mixed veg and rack of lamb is sort of unnecessary.

A lot of people today are adapting to visual appeal and not really considering the dish from the ground up so the person who created the dish, their view may be very biased while someone about to eat it may look at it as a random assortment of products taken out of the walk-in.

They way food will change, but not how you think it will/expect. The reason is because the plates are actually "evolving" not just changing. People are collectively finding what works best on all levels, so little things may change but I don't think we are going to see a "movement" like you would in art because even though chefs are artists on many aspects they are also businessmen, leaders, creators, motivators and adjustors. An artist only has to worry about what people will like to see, or for the self-indulgent, what they like to see. A chef has to stay in business and keep people employed so their is far from going into a menu then a painting. And their really are many styles at work these days. I have picked up a few things here and there all over the place, and I can say with ease that I do not keep seeing the same thing over and over, granted I do continuously see things I feel could be rearranged or better presented, I do not see the same thing over and over.

What you may start to see in the future is not simply the way things are plated but what they are plating them on. Obviously Alinea and other restaurants have put a lot of focus into this but I would put money on the ideas becoming more and more accepted. I have seen a lot of restaurants get a few strange new pieces of dining ware to present their food, usually just a few for high profile guests, but as time goes by I think they may become more and more standard kind of like the various plateware and glassware, and even silverware we see today that we would not have seen twenty years ago.

Dean Anthony Anderson

"If all you have to eat is an egg, you had better know how to cook it properly" ~ Herve This

Pastry Chef: One If By Land Two If By Sea

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I'm looking forward to the restoration of waiter service, generosity and second helpings rather than the persistently nauseating, self-regarding and parsimonious pictures on a plate that are the rule these days.

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I'm looking forward to the restoration of waiter service, generosity and second helpings rather than the persistently nauseating, self-regarding and parsimonious pictures on a plate that are the rule these days.

We were just talking about the stingy plate syndrome, especially for brunches.

You order duck confit hash at and you get a plate of that. Good as it is, a nod towards generosity, color, contrast would be really welcome. Almost makes me wish for an orange slice and a sprig of parsley. And the waiter didn't bother to mention the menu is ala carte and would you care for a side of toast or fruit or anything?

Same for bistro dining where everything on the plate is brown. Braised veal shank, brown, cassoulet, brown, beef bourgeon, more brown. It is just too sad.

Second helpings, well, I don't really need that!

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I'm looking forward to the restoration of waiter service, generosity and second helpings rather than the persistently nauseating, self-regarding and parsimonious pictures on a plate that are the rule these days.

Now that I think of it, I can't wait for more restaurant to serve food family style in the center of the table.

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I'm looking forward to the restoration of waiter service, generosity and second helpings rather than the persistently nauseating, self-regarding and parsimonious pictures on a plate that are the rule these days.

Now that I think of it, I can't wait for more restaurant to serve food family style in the center of the table.

That's an interesting observation. I'm a fan of family style because I think it encourages interaction at the table, it makes dining companions connect.

But, that is a style and you still need tempting plating no matter how it's served.

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I'm waiting for the end of sauces with the consistency of oil paint wiped in pseudo artistic, completely useless smears on the edge of the plate.

I LIKE sauces. Meaning, I like to TASTE them.

i couldn't agree more. don't even want to say what those smears sometimes remind me of...

"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

www.chezcherie.com

Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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  • 4 weeks later...
What you may start to see in the future is not simply the way things are plated but what they are plating them on.  Obviously Alinea and other restaurants have put a lot of focus into this but I would put money on the ideas becoming more and more accepted.  I have seen a lot of restaurants get a few strange new pieces of dining ware to present their food, usually just a few for high profile guests, but as time goes by I think they may become more and more standard kind of like the various plateware and glassware, and even silverware we see today that we would not have seen twenty years ago.

Custom plates & flatware certainly aren't new or avant-garde, but are rather seriously retro (in a Western European context)...see the Victorian & Edwardian eras, please. My turn of the century silver service has ice cream forks, short-handled oyster forks, long-handled cocktail forks, lemon forks, snail tongs, fish forks, ramekin forks, bouillion spoons, gumbo spoons, blah, blah. Don't even get me started on the serving pieces. Dinnerware from the same period includes a blinding array of specialty dishes for particular food items. Similarly, the idea of a plate specially chosen for the season or dish being served is an important component in japanese high cuisine.

I'd like to see family-style service, too. I don't want a whopping serving of something, and family-style saves me the trouble of pushing around half-eaten food, or trading plates with a dining companion who wants a taste.

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What you may start to see in the future is not simply the way things are plated but what they are plating them on.  Obviously Alinea and other restaurants have put a lot of focus into this but I would put money on the ideas becoming more and more accepted.  I have seen a lot of restaurants get a few strange new pieces of dining ware to present their food, usually just a few for high profile guests, but as time goes by I think they may become more and more standard kind of like the various plateware and glassware, and even silverware we see today that we would not have seen twenty years ago.

Custom plates & flatware certainly aren't new or avant-garde, but are rather seriously retro (in a Western European context)...see the Victorian & Edwardian eras, please. My turn of the century silver service has ice cream forks, short-handled oyster forks, long-handled cocktail forks, lemon forks, snail tongs, fish forks, ramekin forks, bouillion spoons, gumbo spoons, blah, blah. Don't even get me started on the serving pieces. Dinnerware from the same period includes a blinding array of specialty dishes for particular food items. Similarly, the idea of a plate specially chosen for the season or dish being served is an important component in japanese high cuisine.

I'd like to see family-style service, too. I don't want a whopping serving of something, and family-style saves me the trouble of pushing around half-eaten food, or trading plates with a dining companion who wants a taste.

Thanks for quoting me, but I never said they were new ideas. Everything we see is a regurgitation of something else, thats how life works. My prediction was simple and to the point of what I expect to see, I may or may not be right but I certainly never proclaimed it to be an absolute original idea, because their simply is no such thing. Just because we may not know the origins of design does not mean there isn't one, there always is and origin(s) or it is most definitely an accident put to great use. We can spend the rest of our lives explaining what has been before and describe to each other how someone wasn't the first to bring forth an idea but I would rather not.

what we should do is pay attention to what is becoming fashionable across all borders. My true hope is that there will be no single new "movement" of any sort. A movement to me implies that their are borders to cross, and I hope we are getting to the point of living somewhat border-less, at least by informational design.

Once the awareness of people comes to the point where ideas are skipping between cities in mere hours, certain ideas will become great and dead within weeks instead of years. This I believe is a good thing because the most devoted of people in a given field will probably be less - likely to shun something due to over exposure. Just like when foam and fruit caviar get a bad wrap once in a while from chefs who have seen it over and over but never put it into practice. If we get to a point where things become understood quickly enough then we can accept them easier thus adding so many techniques, ideas and styles to our repertoire so that maybe you can use foam, or something totally new without feeling outdated and just know that it works so well with your particular plate up.

I am looking forward to the advent of customizing chefs, able to perform so many different ways of preparing food, a certain genre of eating great without worry where its origins may lie.

Dean Anthony Anderson

"If all you have to eat is an egg, you had better know how to cook it properly" ~ Herve This

Pastry Chef: One If By Land Two If By Sea

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I've been seeing more deconstructed salads.

At a new Indian place a few weeks ago they served a vegetable (korma or masala, forget which....something vegetable and looked already digested) in what looked like a hubcap. Seriously, beat to hell metal with strait up sides, looked like a water dish my dog used to have. I somehow don't think it will catch on though.

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