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Plating food wrong


sculptor
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Has anybody else ever noticed how some restaurants don't seem to plate food logically? I ate in a restaurant the other day and they plated the food in such a manner that is was very difficult to eat. I turned the plate this way and that way and eventually found an orientation that wasn't totally absurd but still it was pain to eat from. So, is there an identifed way to plate food in order to make it easier to eat?

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Hmm, I dunno. I've definitely had things served in bowls that became unstable when you tried to cut the food in said bowl, but there I'd blame the choice of plate rather than the plating. Otherwise, it's OK to deconstruct, knock over, rearrange, etc the plating as needed. It is meant to be eaten, it is meant to be destroyed.

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I've convinced that recent trends in smartphones and foodblogging has given rise to a generation of "foodies" who are more concerned that something looks pretty than tastes good. I think some canny chefs are cynically capitalizing on this trend.

PS: I am a guy.

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I've convinced that recent trends in smartphones and foodblogging has given rise to a generation of "foodies" who are more concerned that something looks pretty than tastes good. I think some canny chefs are cynically capitalizing on this trend.

Yes. I vote for that. The very idea that something might be in the wrong quadrant or sextile of the plate is pretentious beyond the call of duty. Its food. Put it in your mouth.

Some of the most delicious things I have eaten have looked like train wrecks.

Plating can enhance but it is very far down the list of essentials. No one looks at the Mona Lisa and asks why did they choose that frame. No one notices the presentation if the art stuns. Same with dinner.

(And as a food photographer, I think I just put myself out of business!)

Edited by liuzhou (log)

...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

The Kitchen Scale Manifesto

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What does "wrong" mean? Personally I find excessive attention to plating a turn-off. First of all, I don't like the idea of someone playing with my food. Second, if I order food that I expect to be hot, I don't want to discover that recreating a freshly dug bed of root vegetables or "casually perfect" seascape on my plate has resulted in lukewarm food. There's a lot of difference between a plate that looks delicious and a plate that looks like someone consulted a blueprint. On the other hand, really good food rarely looks like a train wreck.

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I'm convinced that recent trends in smartphones and foodblogging has given rise to a generation of "foodies" who are more concerned that something looks pretty than tastes good. I think some canny chefs are cynically capitalizing on this trend.

This is a sure thing. People will post photos of food now with no description or how it was to eat.

Sleep, bike, cook, feed, repeat...

Chef Facebook HQ Menlo Park, CA

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To borrow from Ferran...I think of plating like I think of clothing. Depending on the context/occasion how a dish is plated up should be appropriate to that occasion. Both on the low and and high end, things can either be wonderful or sloppy, can make perfect sense or be horridly ridiculous.

But I certainly agree that as a culture we now place emphasis on the visual to the detriment of the tangible...Certainly more folks would benefit from paying attention to how a dish "eats"

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Off topic?

I have done this experiment a few times.

Four identical bowls of dog food in front of a hungry dog, one bowl would be plated nicely.

Made no difference to the dog.

As humans, we do respond to food geometry visually, beyond taste.

dcarch

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Off topic?

I have done this experiment a few times.

Four identical bowls of dog food in front of a hungry dog, one bowl would be plated nicely.

Made no difference to the dog.

dcarch

How do you plate dog food? I once had a sweet and gentle natured Airedale, but when I put her food bowl down, I had to get my hand out of the way very fast. Some years later I had a female Boston Terrier who savored her Jerky Treats. She'd hold it upright between her paws, and take a bite, and chew it slowly;she was a slow food advocate. The problem was her mate, my male Boston Terrier would be hovering around her waiting for an opportunity to snatch the Jerky Treat.

There was once a very pretentious , but short lived , cafe on the island. One night when my dinner was served,tThere was a small charred object on one side of the plate. It puzzled me. I wondered - is it a garnish? - am I supposed it to eat it? - or should I call the waiter over,and tell him I want my dinner on a clean plate? I comprised, I didn't eat it,. and I didn't ask for a clean plate.

As Julia put it, once "I don't like architectural food".

"A fool", he said, "would have swallowed it". Samuel Johnson

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  • 1 month later...

Don't know if it is the same for you guys, but here in the UK chefs seem to be looking for odd alternatives to plates.

It is very common to have your starter served on a slate. I hate it with a passion. I don't want to eat my dinner off a roofing tile. I want a nice glazed plate that has been cleaned in the dishwasher.

http://www.thecriticalcouple.co.uk

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I'm in the camp that says there's no wrong approach to plating - it's food. Put it in your mouth! Whether it's artistically pleasing or not is secondary to why you're at the restaurant in the first place, namely, to eat.

Like Liuzhou, some of the tastiest things I've ever eaten looked like cat yukk in a bowl, and I'm actually a great advocate of plating things onto leaves or into edible food platforms. The slate thing doesn't bother me one bit, nor do boats made of banana leaf, or any of the other rather imaginative ways I've had food served to me at high-end places. It's all part of the experience, and quite frankly if I'm going to get food poisoning it will more likely be from the questionable things I eat from street carts, which are generally served in baggies that start off sterile.

I'm more perturbed by the trend of plating smaller and smaller portions on larger and larger plates. I understand what the chef/food artist is going for in those cases (a sort of Mies van der Rohe "less is more" thing, I suspect), but I'm likely to be disturbed that it was so tasty and gone so quickly, and in some cases it also results in what should have been a warm dish being served cold. That, in my opinion, is inexcusable.

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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Off topic?

I have done this experiment a few times.

Four identical bowls of dog food in front of a hungry dog, one bowl would be plated nicely.

Made no difference to the dog.

dcarch

How do you plate dog food? I once had a sweet and gentle natured Airedale, but when I put her food bowl down, I had to get my hand out of the way very fast. Some years later I had a female Boston Terrier who savored her Jerky Treats. She'd hold it upright between her paws, and take a bite, and chew it slowly;she was a slow food advocate. The problem was her mate, my male Boston Terrier would be hovering around her waiting for an opportunity to snatch the Jerky Treat.

I speak as an Airedale who savors his food, but I'd rather play than eat.

You are right about small portions getting cold fast. I had a nice meal at Lacriox pretty much ruined that way. Artsy -fartsy plating of small portions = cold in minutes.

Edited by gfweb (log)
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My complaint would be careless waiters who set the plate down facing the wrong way. Ie: the main attraction is across the plate from the garnish, rather than on the near side, or some variation of that.

It's petty but...

PastaMeshugana

"The roar of the greasepaint, the smell of the crowd."

"What's hunger got to do with anything?" - My Father

My eG Food Blog (2011)

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