Joined Sep 3, 2001
I gotta ask this, please be patient with me.
Where do you draw the line on presentation. At what point does flavor, purity of ingredients, technique fall prey to HEIGHT, juxtaposition of veggies darting across the plate, etc. I just happened to catch a pastry competition on the foodnet the other day and I have to say, although admirable and beautiful pieces were shown, it was not what I expected. I guess the coutour line of pastry?
My one and only favorite show is great chefs.
Presentation is an absolute consideration there, but the food still looks like food.
Coming from a visual art background, the concept of presentation is a must. But it seems there are bounderies crossed once in a while.
So please give me your spin on the visuals above and beyond composition of form and color, texture of ingredients. How much is too much.
And at what level of dining could you expect composition to be a great consideration?
Joined Jan 5, 2001
Hi Angelica,
To me, food should look like food. I like clean rims and no excessive garnishes. Balance in shapes, colours and composition. There have been a few threads on this topic that you should check out. You can try this one to begin: link
For more, just use the search function above and type 'presentation'.

..oh, and welcome aboard!
Joined Dec 12, 2000
It's funny, because I was just thinking about plate presentation, and then I come here and this topic is going. in my opinion presentation is key, because food isn't just about taste, my main principle is that you eat with your eyes first, so it's gotta look good. But I also tend to lean towards food being an experience for all your senses. when it comes to garnishing plates at work, I simply use a piece of fruit complimented with a sprig of parsley, and then a dash of minced parsley around the edge of the plate.
Joined Mar 13, 2001
From a diner's point of view, I'm always a little concerned about the overhandling/overcaressing of the food...where were those fingers before plating MY food.

This is not to say that presentation is not important but the taste along with the way the food was handled must come first!

Really nice dishes help a lot, preferably in a solid color. If the plate is too busy, the food seems to disappear.

Just my two cents ... ;)
Joined Mar 6, 2001
Possibly I saw the same show you mentioned... The pastry competition at Beaver Creek CO?

I'm a pastry chef and I had previously seen all the photos from the competition in the pastry magazines, but I have to admit I was disapointed watching that show. The style in which they covered the event was more of an over view and didn't contain enough information about what went into making the items (recipes, backgrounds of the chefs, details to personalize what we were watching), they just covered over and over how fragile their show pieces were and how dif***ult the temp. was in making them. So I think if the show had actually done more interviewing or closely watched any of the groups efforts so we could have learned more about the people and specifics of what they were doing, your opinion about that competition might be totally different.?

I too found myself wondering what this really judged and how pastry got so extremely into fine art where they actually mirror fine art. They even discard nice work that mirrors representational work in lew of abstract.

That was a snap shot of couter pastry. It's about winning a title and a bigger salary or inticing more students to your private school. Which all three winners have.

I think all the pastry chefs there take their visuals seriously on the job (with banquet work and such) but that WAS THE EXTREME for the bragging rights of being the best.
Joined Feb 21, 2001
Want to see something funny with fingers in the food, go to, register for nothing, and then check out the restaurant video reviews of all the trendy places in NYC. Talk about caressing the food. Even Daniel Boulud has got his digits in there. That's one of my big objections with the Great Chefs shows..too many rookies with their dirty fingers in the food. If I knew I was going to be on that show I would get a manicure and a new cutting board.

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