Tips for Food Plating like a Pro

Contributed by Jaquelyn Olalere.

When making that meal, your ultimate goal is to ensure it’s rather delicious. However, that’s arguably the simple aspect, as making it look appealing is also important. Understanding how to plate food properly so it looks exquisite isn’t that easy, but there are a few tips you could learn without much hassle even if you’re not a professional.

Honing your skills might take some time but with the right attitude and attention to detail, you’ll have your meals looking like they were prepared by some of the best chefs.

Buckle up as we delve into how to make your food look exquisite and pleasing to your hungry audience. Here are a few tips to improve your food-plating skills below:


Preparation is everything. It’s the very first step to cooking like a pro and plating with class. Before you get into the process of plating or even cooking, plan. Prepare the recipe, kitchen equipment, and ingredients beforehand.

Also, make sure your workspace is clean, clear, and free from clutter. This will reduce your stress, and also make the entire process easier while saving you some time.

You can also write down all the important steps so you don’t forget anything. Write out the recipe, write a list of tools you will need, as well as ingredients and other things. This way, you’ll have all the essential utensils and tools you’ll need ahead of time. Also remember to confirm that you have fresh/properly-stored ingredients, so you don’t serve stale food to your guests!

Organize your kitchen space as this can really help your workflow and help you relax. 


Try different things. Explore ideas. Check out how different colors and textures can combine to affect how amazing your meals look. You can pair a dish with lots of red with a vibrant yellow to provide some contrast and visual appeal. You could explore different shades of green with your veggie dishes.

There are different routes you can take in finding the best way to express your plating skills. Use vegetables and other greens to add color to bland food like rice. Use differently-colored peppers to showcase a collage of colors that would make your guests’ mouths water. 

Don’t forget to apply this to the surroundings of your plate as well. What’s the best color of dinnerware to go with your dish? Do your napkins need to be simple to give your dish all the visual allure?

Choosing the perfect plates

Cooking and plating are arts, and you aim to craft that art out on the perfect blank canvas: a plate. Much like artists need to use the perfect canvas to create magic, you need to view plating in the same vein. Do you want to keep things simple with a neat transparent glass plate that allows the food within to be expressed? What about using plates with a sparkling white finish that will keep the focus on your colorful dish?

Just like with different colors in meals, try out different colors on your plates. You’ll often find that using bland plates will allow for more expression from the dish, but don’t let that stop you from trying out other ideas.

Apart from color, you need to make sure you serve each dish with the right plate. Bread and pastry could be served in plates woven like baskets if you want to go all out. But you wouldn’t use woven plates for soup!

Don’t forget to keep the temperature in mind. If you’re serving cold dessert, keep the plates in the fridge for some time so they’re nearer the temperature of the dish. This keeps your cold dishes from melting faster, which will make your guests enjoy their meal more.