When fancy plating fails?

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by french fries, Oct 5, 2016.

  1. french fries

    french fries

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    Yelping around looking for a restaurant to go out, I wanted to share a few photographs of fancy food plating that, IMO, fails to create an inspiring, attractive plate. These all come from the same restaurant however those are customer pics, and honestly some of their plates are beautiful, however for this thread I wanted to stick to what doesn't work for me. Note that this is a fairly fancy restaurant, with the average main course running $26 to $34.

    1. Seafood salad

    Not so sure about that tire mark at the bottom of the plate. Even once I've read it's actually olive tapenade, it doesn't make it look any better. 


    2. Rib eye steak

    Too much stuff on the plate? Where's the steak? 


    3. Breakfast Burger

    What? Is that really an authentic burger? /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif  Looks like an egg Benedict with a burger patty? Actually this one doesn't look half bad once you get past the fact that this is not your typical fast food burger. But what's that light pink sauce? Beef blood? Hmmm....


    4. Brownie

    This probably looked amazing in the mind of the chef, and it probably still looks amazing on a cold day. But it's hot in L.A.!! I'm not even looking forward to tasting that transparent liquidy-gel stuff on the plate. 


    5. Carrot Cake

    I understand the current trend to make desserts look messy (dirts, soils, powders, foams, etc....) but this may be taking things a bit far. 

     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2016
  2. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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    Love this, French Fries! The desserts look much better than the savviest, but the wooden smash is really pretty gross. As to the skid-mark, well, the less said, the better....


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  3. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    Great idea. 

    I'll say that the seafood salad is the chef's commentary on oil spills. 

    What is that square item under the breakfast burger? 

    I can't say I'm fond of the piece of slate for plating either. Seems inappropriate somehow. 

    Overall, too many flaws to count.
     
  4. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    There is nothing I hate more than fancy desserts.  Give me some good old bread pudding, a big slice of chocolate cake, or a basic donut.  I don't want to look at or even eat fancy desserts.  I know it's an art but arghhh!
     
  5. rpooley

    rpooley

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    "A young chef adds and adds and adds to the plate.  When you are older, you start to take away."  - Jacques Pepin
     
  6. jimyra

    jimyra

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    This is good.  What kind of seafood is under all that stuff? 
    Less said is hard to do with this one.

    Are those pools of mustard around the breakfast burger?
     
  7. french fries

    french fries

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    It's a slice of French toast! On the photograph the sides look pinkish.. making it hard to identify. 
    Looks like hollandaise to me. 
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2016
  8. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    Those are so wrong on so many levels.

    What is that brown/tan fluid oozing from between the burger and the egg could be....?

    If you look really close there seems to be a tiny egg trapped there...

    In other news.....
    Being the holder of an insatiable addiction to all things sweet I always at least take a bite.

    Even if it means closing my eyes lol.

    Raisin bread pudding with either a lemon or Bourbon hard sauce still rocks my boat and I always order it. 

    Always.

    Depending upon who is working pantry, I sometimes order extra servings for the "doggy " bag.

    Yep.

    mimi

    Forgot to hit send....
     
  9. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    Number 4 has a face only a mother could love.....

    Needs serious help.

    Is that supposed to be an ice cream quenelle wrapped in pastry, only to find they really sux at wrapping stuff up?

    I used to dread any occasion that required a pretty package and bow....

    Now I just pay someone lol.

    mimi

    Ok, I have studied it ....looks like a homage to the Frog Prince (the lumpy gold glittered balls on top look like a crown of sorts).

    I will stop now  /img/vbsmilies/smilies/talker.gif

    m.
     
  10. Guest

    Guest Guest

    i am so over with the spoon drag its like one day somone failed at making the Heart shaped drag and the world thought it looked cool 
     
  11. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    My very first thought when I saw #4 was, "Look, someone glitter painted Kix cereal."/img/vbsmilies/smilies/tongue.gif
     
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  12. meezenplaz

    meezenplaz

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    Some pretty scary appetite killers in there. Good way to WATCH your dessert intake.
    The up side is, maybe Chris L. can finally make some convincing eyeballs outa some of this stuff! :lol:
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2016
  13. french fries

    french fries

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    /img/vbsmilies/smilies/lol.gif
     
  14. maryb

    maryb

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    That skid mark looks like something my cat did across the floor...(no I am not going to elaborate!). That burger looks downright gross to me, desserts I like simple, piece of apple pie, pumpkin pie, lemon meringue...
     
  15. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    From reading this thread, I have a fair idea what people consider fails. What would be the flip side? What works?

    Critics and opinions are part and parcel of being a chef, but so is pleasing the dining public. So what you got?
     
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  16. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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    Google "Kikunoi Honten" and "Kichisen" and click "images." Then think, "how do I serve my food in a way that draws effectively on what's beautiful about this?"


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  17. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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    Or google "most beautiful plates of food," and think, NOT, "how do I do that?" but RATHER "where did the plating fails in this thread go wrong in badly imitating this kind of plating?"


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  18. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    @ Cheflayne. 

    As for what works: I think most of the dishes in the pictures have good elements. It's just that they are all too piled up on each other. A bit of space makes a difference visually. 

    The steak and the hamburger would be better with only one sauce, contrasted against the protein, more distinct from the other elements. 

            I have a couple of older books about culinary design. They are quite dated food wise but what I find most useful is the idea of balance and harmony when plating anything. A large item on one side of a plate or platter requires some smaller item(s) on the other side to provide balance. Several smaller items on one plate should be arranged so they seem in harmony. 

    I'd like to demonstrate that here but I'm no good at drawing pictures with text.

         In the carrot cake, the cake and quenelle would be better separated to opposite sides, with the white powder against the darker cake and the darker powder against the lighter colored quenelle. The gold balls make more sense if less in number (3) set off against the white top of the cake. 

    So color balance clearly matters. Visual clarity is another issue. You shouldn't muddle a distinctly colored item with others of a similar color in direct contact. 

         For the seafood salad, the use of a simple rectangular stencil would do a lot to keep the tapenade from it's unfortunate visual associations. That would also keep it more in line with the tight square that the fish is composed of while also providing a bit of geometric contrast. The green dab of sauce could be a greater amount, with the whiter fish on top, the pointy green/white salad would then be more visually striking set apart on top of the rectangular shape of tapenade. 

        Naturally flavor is of first importance in any dish. But in plate compositions, using many of the same visual guides from the other arts becomes very useful. 
     
  19. chrislehrer

    chrislehrer

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    Could you give references on your food design books?


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  20. chefwriter

    chefwriter

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    Culinary Design and Decoration by William Emery, 1980. Publisher- Van Nostrand Reinhold Company is the one I have at hand. 

    I had another I can't find right now. I may have  lost it. I certainly hope not. 

    Also useful is the study of color contrasts used in oil painting and the arts generally as well as the essential principles of graphic design.