A truly satisfactory dining experience goes far beyond the flavor of the food itself. The Michelin star chefs at Today’s World Kitchen know there are many factors that join to create the ultimate dining experience; the look, the smell, the taste, the atmosphere, and company all play a role. Research around Neurogastronomy, the science of how one’s brain perceives flavor, shows that our senses (sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing) are having the biggest effect on our food associations and general appreciation of the food we eat.

Food presentation is the art of creating a visually appealing “picture” on a plate. It’s defined as modifying, processing, arranging, and decorating food to enhance its appeal. This art, practiced by Michelin star chefs worldwide is just as important as the flavor of the food, because visually appealing food creates a sense of harmony on the plate, and intrigues the guest.

Today, Michelin star chefs have high standards to meet; not only are they running a business, coming up with the most innovative recipes on the planet, and consistently updating their menus, but they’re also expected to excel in the art of food presentation. Today’s top chefs must learn to be artistic with their food presentation to receive top reviews from critics and guests.

Michelin star chefs typically use a framework for their food presentation; simple geometric shapes. Most plate designs follow basic pattern arrangements, such as lines, arcs, or circles. From there, the following factors are considered:

Balance: A properly designed plate strikes a balance. Whether there is symmetry in the design, the plate should display somewhat of a structure, not a chaotic feel.

Focal Point: Consider the focal point of your dish; where the eye looks to first. The focal point of your dish should be the item in which you wish to highlight to your guest. To create a focal point, use different colors, elevation, centered or forward placement.

Use White Space: It’s important for your plate design to leave some of the plate empty. The white space on a plate creates a frame for the food you are presenting, and makes the colors of your dish pop.

Garnishes: Proper garnishing can bring life to your plate. However, our online community for chefs warns against adding improper garnishing just for color. Make sure the garnish you add is complementary of the food flavors. Try sauces, sprouts, and even small flowers.

Plates: Our online community for chefs recommend using white plates, since they help the eye to distinguish what is being presented. However, depending on what you’re serving and the color or size of the meal, we recommend switching up the plate shape, size, and color from time to time.