Food plating is hard. Let's talk about it.

Look, the odds are ever against you in the world of plating. You’ve got professionals on television that present “finished” dishes by a team that worked on it for the better part of a day, and the few rare folks that do it live are really, really seasoned professionals. I worked in kitchens for-ev-er and, while there, I couldn’t plate in an artistic fashion like this. I mean, it all looked great, and I’m sure plenty of people took plenty of pictures with it. But there was never any pressure, and they were dishes I had made and plated hundreds of times.

Watch the video I linked you above. Can you do that? Do you even have that many white plates (I do not, thank you garage sale IKEA set of scratched up green plates) or a sauce you’re confident that can flow like that? Probably not. I did this for a living, and I can’t plate at home. I don’t care to, unless it’s a holiday.. and I go full homestyle. My family doesn’t appreciate cuisine. They want food. They eat as if they were starved dogs, and it’s one of the reasons I gave up trying for them.

Plating for still photography - or rather, arranging - isn’t anything like what most cooks would be doing on a daily basis. There’s a reason those golden arch clad burgers look so great in their ads, but what you get from the drive-thru is something from another reality. “Food Stylist” is an actual profession.

Still, there are plenty of bloggists around with little more than a DSLR and a good lens or two that have seem to have figured it out. So how do you go from amateur to someone saying “wow, that looks good!”

Practice. Fear not the man who practices 10,000 attacks once, but the man who practices one attack 10,000 times, right? Find your favorite dish, something you make often. Look up arrangements for it. Look at this simple chicken parmesan plate. That’s a pretty simple one. And the author of the post is nice enough to go into a heavy amount of detail for the prep! Yours might not look perfect the first time. But practice will make perfect, and you’ll develop over time.

Just don’t give up.


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