Preparing the Plate


More than mere fuel or flavor, food can transform into a medium for artistic expression during the plating process. With the help of tools like angled spoons, squeeze bottles, brushes, and molds, any meal can become a masterpiece. Here, local restaurants showcase some of their best-plated dishes and plating tips.

Photography by Trevor Long


chargrilled octopus







Chargrilled Octopus

Amada Tapas & Wine

Plating Tip: Eat with your eyes first. For example, the octopus in this dish mimics colors you see in the dining room at Amada. You can see purple, green, and amber in our glassware and in our mural on the wall, and this creates a sense of unity in the dining experience.


amanda and cory trotter




“The plating process is exciting because it’s your food’s best shot at making a first impression. If a plate looks attractive, a guest can expect it to taste good. Presentation sets the tone for the meal, and plating is a great way to show your care for the perception of the food.” – Amanda Trotter and Cory Trotter

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herb basted veal chop







Herb Basted Veal Chop

Bridgeman’s Chophouse

Plating Tip: Be aware of spacing with respect to plate size, height, and negative space.


adam roe




“Plating the veal chop begins with utilizing plating tongs, which are more reminiscent of giant tweezers than traditional tongs. We place and arrange the fingerling potatoes and asparagus not only to create visual appeal but also to make a stable base to support the chop. The finished plate has height and depth with a final baste of brown butter and fresh herbs.” – Adam Roe

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sushi sashimi







Sushi & Sashimi Plate


Plating Tip: Strategically position smaller pieces near the diner’s side and larger ones on the opposite end of the plate to create a balanced presentation.


shawn lee




“A professional sushi and sashimi plate demands precise knife skills, careful fish selection, and uniform rice molding. Bamboo mats, rice paddles, and wasabi brushes assist in the plating process.”
– Shawn Lee

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beef tartare







Beef Tartare

Easy Bistro

Plating Tip: Let the plating happen naturally. Don’t force it.


joe milenkovic, jr




“Plating needs to be thoughtful and consistent. Aesthetics come second to the execution of a dish.” – Joe Milenkovic Jr.

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ruth's chopped salad







Ruth’s Chopped Salad

Ruth’s Chris Steak House

Plating Tip: Always take the time to wipe the edge of your plate. This immediately enhances the presentation of any dish and allows the eyes to focus on the food.


james hester




“Visual appeal makes things taste better! This is a composed salad, where the base ingredients and dressing are combined and then plated using a ring mold to create a crisp clean presentation.” – James Hester

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rainbow trout







Rainbow Trout

Frazier Five & Dime

Plating Tip: Slow down. Make sure you have enough time to plate your food without rushing.


reed trimble




“People eat with their eyes first – always. I plate this dish with sauté pans, spoons, squeeze bottles, hopes, and aspirations.” – Reed Trimble

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delmonico ribeye







Delmonico Ribeye

The Creag

Plating Tip: The Spotlight Technique –
Take a part of the dish that normally would not be the focus and elevate it. For instance, the domino potato in this dish is topped with parmesan sage béchamel and curled green onions.


patrick asconi




“Our plating approach is influenced by balance, contrast, and simplicity. We let the ingredients shine on their own with a few enhancements here and there to feature the food’s natural beauty.” – Patrick Asconi

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