First impressions count. Plate your food immaculately, and diners will have a positive impression of their meals, even before it’s on their fork.

In this article, we reveal food plating techniques used by famous chefs around the world. Choose the ones you prefer and add a touch of zest to your food presentation.

Plating Secrets

Arrange in odd numbers

Chef Rick Bayless


Chef Rick Bayless has an interesting little secret to making dishes look extra special – serving up an odd numbers of items. It’s an intriguing trick that actually works. So the next time you’re placing scallops on a plate, consider using 3 or 5, instead of 4 or 6.

Create contrast with a white background

Chef Charlie Palmer


Chef Charlie Palmer says that a brilliant white plate makes everything on it look that much better. The food textures and colours stand out more, making the dish brilliantly appealing to diners.

Appeal to all the senses

Chef Todd English


As a chef and owner of multiple restaurants, Chef Todd English knows a thing or two about effective food presentation. His pet peeve? Using garnishes just for their colour. To this chef, plating food isn’t just about what we see with our eyes, but also what we smell and touch.

So before you add red pepper simply for that dash of striking red, think about whether its smell and taste complement the main dish.

Use your plate as a canvas

Chef Susur Lee


Tapping on your artistic side is crucial when plating food, according to chef and restaurant owner Susur Lee.

He uses garnishes such as sprouts and sauces to frame his focal point. This creative chef also emphasises the importance of proportions and following your instincts. Finally, he recommends taking a step back and looking at your plate like the work of art that it is.

Use non-traditional vessels

Chef Wylie Dufresne


Hailing from New York City, this chef suggests going beyond typical vessels such as plates and bowls. A striking example of what else you can use? Utilising a slate board to serve up your first course.

Now, that’s turning on the style.

Take a hint from nature

Chef Travis Swikard


Chef Travis Swikard talks about creating food with passion and looking to nature for inspiration. He recommends using colours that reflect the seasons and contrast each other to create a vibrant, nature-inspired dish that’s plated to attract and entice.

Contrasting colours

Chef Kuniko Yagi


When it comes to plating her food, the key factor in Chef Kuniko Yagi’s mind is colour. With every plate, she creates a balance of colour and recommends the same to other chefs. According to Chef Kuniko, using contrasting colours is essential to bringing a plated dish to life.

Dress for the occasion, simple is beautiful

Chef Thomas Keller


Chef Thomas Keller insists that plating food must be in line with the occasion. For instance, the way a chef plates a dish for a birthday party should be vastly different from how he plates for a Christmas dinner.

Another essential tip from this chef is that “less looks better” and that simplicity is the way to go for classy, elegant food plating.

Use the plate’s rim as a border, add height

Chef Susan Feniger


Chef Susan Feniger, who co-owns several restaurants, gives us two excellent food plating tips.

First, she recommends using the plate’s outside rim as a border, like a picture frame, to frame a picturesque dish. Second, she advises chefs to consider adding some height to their food to make their plate appear more varied and interesting.

What are your favourites?

Which of these plating techniques do you like the most? Give them a try and see how your diners react!