Jenny Dorsey is part of Oxygen’s digital series In Progress. Check out the digital series here!
Beautiful food can come out of any kitchen with a little extra attention to detail. We ‘omnomnivores’ very much eat with our eyes, so prettying up even your own relaxed weeknight dinner will make you feel like royalty. Here are some easy tips that won't take long (you need to eat!) but yield big results. Get ready to make your Instagram followers jealous!
1. . Use a larger plate.
There’s a reason why restaurants always seem to use giant white plates. The negative space (“white space”) between the food and the plate should be balanced appropriately – there should be at least as much white space as there is food – so the dish doesn’t look “cluttered”.
2. . Contrast is key.
Contrast means a lot more than color. Start with different color palettes – bright green vegetables, a rich red puree, jet black accents, etc. – and then think about textures and height. This photo here has a sweet corn puree, pea vines, and a lamb saddle that’s been rubbed in leek ash for a nice black exterior. Smooth textures like purees and sauces are always very beautiful, but a rough-chop coleslaw can also be very appealing when presented in a dignified way. I love to use nuts and crisps on dishes too! Don’t be afraid to stack items on top of each other to bring the eye upwards from the plate.
3. . Cluster – or don’t.
A definitive touch works wonders on a plate. If you like to cluster your foods together, do it! If you don’t like that look, keep them squarely apart (a lot of white space between them). Just make sure to stray from the gray zone when you try to do both and your plate ends up with a lot of components in one flat layer.
4. . Rule of odd numbers.
Generally speaking, odd numbers look better than even numbers on a plate. Have you wondered why a plate would have 7 scallops for ceviche but not 8? How the heck do you split 7 things? Well…now you know ☺
5. . Technique is always key.
No matter how many tips are here, the most important thing is technique while you’re making the food. If you want silky-smooth sauces, they need to be strained through a fine-mesh strainer. If you want beautiful fillets, they need to be cooked properly. If you want to create ribbons or circles from root vegetables, they need to be mandolined precisely. If you want bright greens for your plate, they need to be blanched and shocked. Put your heart into learning the techniques and your plate will reward you!
Get to know Jenny Dorsey!
[Top photo credit: Robin Lam, MakeThingsWell.com]