Food and Beverage

Food On Display: Decor and Presentation

Food as Decoration: There is something so enticing about glass bowls filled with fruits or vegetables, especially if the focus is on only one in particular.

Imagine how lovely a huge, tall cylindrical glass vase completely filled with lemons looks! This is a simple way to decorate, create a centerpiece or make a lovely decorative and seasonal statement in the kitchen. It is also a great way to celebrate food with a burst of color and using a natural element. There is an elegance and simplicity to this and a symbolism of abundance, which is welcome in any home. The other bonus to having food as a decoration is the inclination to eat what you see. Apples that are left out in a large bowl beg to be eaten and are likely to be snatched up on sight. If tucked out of sight all the time, well you know the expression…out of sight out of mind. Make fruit top of mind by using it to decorate!

Choose Creative Containers

You are not limited to the type of container. Be creative! You could use a bowl or vase in a cylindrical, rectangular or square shape, plate, platter, basket, bowl…whatever you’ve got that fits your decor and that you already have. Even a tea cup with one lemon and a green leaf as an accent looks beautiful.  You can also choose different fruits or vegetables for that matter. Try lemons, limes, oranges, persimmons or pomegranates, artichokes, even fennel with the long fronds still attached can create a fetching arrangement. You can also mix in leaves or other greenery, twigs or herbs to the decorative mix.

Just Like at the Bakery, Display your Food

Food as decor can also come in the way of displaying the food you’ve made like a bakery. Picture pretty stands with pastries, biscuits, cookies or cakes on your counter to decorate your kitchen (and of course eat!). A domed dish with an entire cake in it looks divine on a counter top and beacons you into the kitchen to taste it. There is something that brings a kitchen to life – the color and the realness of having food on display. Edible decorations has also increased in popularity springing up some businesses dedicated to edible arrangement gifts that decorate and feed you. Big arrangements of fruit fashioned into flowers in various themes are sent as gifts.

Food as Decoration: Marzipan

Marzipan, the culinary paste made from almonds and sugar sculpted into shapes, animals or flowers. According to food historians, the origin of marzipan was the Middle East. it was introduced to Europe in the late Middle Ages. In England in the later part of the 15th century, this confection is also known as marchpane, martspane, mazapan or marchpan. It is thought that the British borrowed the name from the early modern French word marcepain or the Italian marzapane. This used to be a luxury item as sugar used to be very expensive, and marzipane if made of 21% sugar. No longer a luxury item, these are so cute and some, very intricate patterns can decorate a dessert, are lovely displayed as part of a meal or set at each place setting as part of the table decor, an edible post dinner nibble. Found at many European bakeries, there are many shapes and designs to choose from whether it is ladybugs, little animals or roses and other flowers.

Plating Food and Presentation

When it comes to plating a meal that will look fantastic and present beautifully, the actual plate you use (chef’s call this the ‘support’) is ultra important. It is said in the restaurant world that 80% of your sale is in the presentation’. That is true at home too. Meals will look polished and well put together, more enticing and appetizing if presented well. I love this post by Chef Gui on using the right support. He even uses other types of plates to show you the often very unappetizing results of using a poorly chosen plate or dish on which to present the meal.

Food Presentation Tips

A meal on a plate, even something as simple as a sandwich, can look like a piece of art with very little fuss or skill required. Just a little attention to detail, remembering to adding color like fresh herbs and in the food you choose to pair together (use bright, contrasting colors) for your meal can make a huge difference. Sprinkle on garnishes like herbs and nuts. Sauces in squeeze bottles are perfect for precise and clean placement. Place it on the plate with care. Wipe up spills. Place the food towards the center of the plate in a cozy little arrangement. Don’t drown the food with the sauce. It’s best to place the sauce on the plate and place the meat over top the sauce. Use garnishes you’ll actually eat and that suit the meal being presented. Alternate the heights of the food being presented like resting the meat against a small mound of potatoes makes for a visually appealing presentation. Another great way to serve food is on platters. Place both the meat and the vegetables side by side on the same platter, garnish and place on the table with serving spoons and forks so guests or family can serve themselves. See our article Serving it up Family Style for more on using platters to present food.

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