Plating Poetry

(above) photo by Lanewood Studio

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As the proverbial phrase tells us, “You eat first with your eyes.”

A well-executed composition can influence how a dish is experienced from first sight through final forkful. Thoughtful plating not only guides flavor combinations but also cultivates a specific dining experience. The delicate patience with which pea tendrils are placed or the practiced artistry of a purée smear can communicate emotion from chef to dish to diner. These chefs know that the art and soul of plating stretches further than first bite.

by Katie Faulkner
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When we create a dish, we try to cook the ingredients perfectly, but we also want to show the contrast between them. Plating should embrace both – a playful touch bringing the flavors together, which highlights, not masks the ingredients.”

Chef Hardin Cowin
Executive Chef, Terra Máe

The Dish // 
Pimenton Rubbed Swordfish | caponata | cauliflower purée | sautéed kale chiffonade | garlic poached fingerlings

Photo by Lanewood Studio


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I adore the array of colors that occur in nature. Because of that, I feel like I cannot go wrong when plating a beautiful salad. Deep red beets, golden yellow tomatoes, and beautiful green lettuces.”



Rebecca Barron
Executive Chef, St. John’s Restaurant

The Dish //
Southland Farm’s Watermelon & Beet Salad | Blackberry Farm sheep’s milk cheese | green tomato mostarda

Photo by Lanewood Studio

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I’ve always felt that it is important for kitchens to allow everyone a chance to express themselves through plating. It’s art, and it’s very much reflective of an individual’s personality and perspective. It’s fun to express yourself in a way that is so ephemeral, and even more fun to get to do it over and over again.”

Erik Niel
Executive Chef & Owner, Easy Bistro

The Dish // Watermelon Gazpacho | Gulf Shrimp | West Indies salad cucamelon | tomato

Photo by Lanewood Studio


Mauldin & Jenkins ad

“Everyone points out my smile, so I go for a presentation that will make others smile. I like to use simple, fresh, and colorful ingredients that make for a memorable experience.”


Nehemias Hernandez
Chef de Cuisine, Alleia

The Dish // duck breast | asparagus | figs

Photo by Lanewood Studio

Paula McDaniel ad

I keep my plating very simple. I don’t put anything on the plate that won’t add flavor to the overall dish. I want to allow the flavors of the key components to shine. Adding garnish for
the sake of texture or bright color, when it doesn’t add to the overall flavor, is not my style.”

Eric Fulkerson
Executive Chef, Bald Headed Bistro

The Dish // Pheasant Two Ways: Country Fried Breast and Smoked Leg Quarters | Sea Island pea succotash | Big Green Egg smoked onion soubise

Photo by Terry Henson

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