Success in the kitchen, whether it’s a big commercial kitchen or a small home nook with barely enough room to turn around in, is based on attention to detail. I don’t mean how well organized your kitchen is, or if you have the latest air fryer or other appliance. I am talking about the quality of ingredients you use, your choices in developing a menu and pairing food with the right wine. It is those little details that can make or break your dinner party.
Things in the culinary world do change, and one of the most recent changes is how food is plated, it is a very important detail these days. It used to be that only in the best fine dining restaurants did you see a beautifully presented plate, but today, almost all restaurants give some serious thought to plating. You just can’t get away with slopping it on a plate. Its long been known that the physical appeal of food is hugely important to customer satisfaction.
A well-presented plate requires a little planning. As you develop your menu, think about the color of the food you will serve. It is important that there is harmony on the plate, just like painting a picture. Structure is another important component. You certainly do not want to serve food that is all flat; that’s why we stack pancakes. I love shrimp and grits, a dish that can be hard to present well. Years ago, I started putting the cooked grits into muffin molds and letting them set up, the anointing the grit cake with shrimp and veggies. It sure beats a plop of grits that has no form at all.
The plates and dishes you use area also important, matches with a colorful napkin, of course. If you are going fancy, make sure to have a few candles on the table, and use decretive chargers under each plate.
I do not like to serve family style, with everything brought to the table at once. I want my supper parties to last and breaking the meal up into multiple courses is a good idea. Don’t rush the food to the table. When your guests finish a course, don’t immediately clear the table, let people finish their wine, and spend some time in conversation. I plate each dish individually in the kitchen, and when all the plates are ready I bring them out to the table, serving the ladies first, serving from the left, with my left hand.
All this may seem silly to you, but if you are serious about serving good food, paying attention to the details will make a big difference. Success in the kitchen, whether it’s a big commercial kitchen or a small home nook with barely enough room to turn around in, is based on attention to detail.Success in the kitchen, whether it’s a big commercial kitchen or a small home nook with barely enough room to turn around in, is based on attention to detail.