5 ways to plate like a chef at home

Easy tips to make your plates a whole lot more interesting

It's easy enough to be charmed by Instagram these days. Whether it's with a photo of a cute puppy wearing bunny ears (AWWWW!), a girl's selfie before she heads out to meet her friends on a Saturday night (Lookin' good, girl! You go!) or a gorgeous plate of food (OMG, I need this) the social media platform does a great job of showing you that someone else's life is just a little bit better than yours at the moment.

Now, whether or not they'll admit it, many chefs these days will happily revel in the amount of likes they are getting on Instagram over the chits that are coming out of their printer. What about us home cooks? We've need to feel validated too, right?

So, here are five common plating techniques you can easily adopt from restaurants to your own culinary creations at home.

Your Instagram followers will be all the more thankful for it, trust me.

The 'C' swipe

It's more or less what it sounds like, assembling your ingredients in the shape of a "c" (or a backwards "c" if you want to be extra crazy) on a round plate will leave you with an impressive plate presentation. Trust me, negative space is all the rage these days.

Coming full circle

Instead of leaning the main protein over a pile of starch or grains, try setting it on the centre of the plate, and arranging the other elements in a circle around it. Easy and elegant. 

Dotting your 'i's and crossing your 't's

This isn't a cafeteria, so don't just pile food on the plate and ladle sauces over top. With a thicker sauce that doesn't run all over the plate, you can put it in a bottle and squeeze dots and lines between and around the various components. Play around with it until you get a feel for it.

The straight line finish

A sprinkle of sesame seeds on top of a tuna tartare or a few toasted pumpkin seeds on top of squash soup is pretty and practical, but you can make it look even better by garnishing in a straight line just off the centre of any plate or bowl of food for something that looks a little more slick.

Damn straight!

The smear or brush stroke

So now that you have all the components on the dish done, how are you going to present that purée or thick sauce? If you’re holding a spoonful of it, looking for the best spot on the plate, try swapping the spoon for a brush (or use the spoon like a brush) and smear it across the plate for an artful presentation and to distribute just the right amount.