Skip main navigation

The traditional plating concept

The article explains the traditional plating concepts.
Chef plating a dish

Once you have decided on your menu and which plate you would like to use for serving, you must then decide on the design of the plate.

A very traditional way of plating has always been 2 vegetables one green (examples are beans, courgette or baby marrow, spinach or kale) and one orange (examples are pumpkin, carrot, butternut or squash), a starch (examples include pasta, rice or a style of potato) and meat or chicken or fish or protein on a plate?

Today, there should still be those components on the plate to create balance on the plate. The traditional way to plate was in the shape of an analogue a clock: protein in 3-9 o’clock, starch at 9-12 and vegetables at 12-3. If you are more comfortable using this traditional style, you can up style it by adding a puree on the plate. Do you remember the age-old peas and carrots on every plate? These days they are still often featured on a menu but now served as a puree or mash on the plate.

Apart from the traditional clock face style plating, we often now seen the food will run vertically or horizontally on the plate. Some chefs choose to stack the food items and very popular is the deconstructed menu which is where you use the traditional elements of a dish or menu item but serve it in individual form as opposed to the traditional way hence deconstructed. Another popular design is free form which is using the whole area of the whole plate or serving platform, with the elements neatly arranged

Some of the key elements to decide on are the visual colour and contrasts. What textures you will be using which include the cooking methods. Will you be searing, frying, roasting, poaching or steaming each item as your method of cooking choice?

To create a range of different textures the items on the plate are produced in different ways. For example, vegetable purees or a mash add a soft texture, crispy deep fried vegetable chips, wafers or tuilles are often used to create a crispy texture on the plate.

If you want to create the height on the plate this will be achieved by stacking the components of the dish or using a mould to assist in creating the height.

To create the balance on the plate, make sure the proportion of vegetable and starch to protein are correct.

The main element on a plate is called the “hero”. A guideline is a 1/3, 1/3, 1/3 for each of the three elements portions.

© International Culinary Studio
This article is from the free online

Mastering the Culinary Art of Plating

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now