I was watching Iron Chef America and the guest chef was plating his food very creatively. His presentations were very "arty" and, as a professional artist, I would call them avant guard. I realized while watching him plate that I didn't like his approach. The dishes were stark and cold and didn't look appetizing! I did not want to taste his dishes.
Food is supposed to look good to eat, it's food! You aren't going to hang it on a wall or display it on your coffee table for posterity, you're going to eat it! Sometimes food presentation can be over designed and even badly designed, just like art.
Food should not be too pretty to eat or too sleek to appeal to the taste buds. On the other hand, it shouldn't be a big clump of glop sitting on a plate either. Colors are important, blue food should be left to the Who's in Whoville and gray foods are best served to the family pets. Keep the colors of your food natural and use contrasting garnishes to interest the eye.
The first priority for food is always taste. No matter how good it looks if it tastes bad you've failed as a cook or chef. The aroma is critical, it gets the digestive juices flowing and excites the tongue. The look of your food is the third element in your chef's palette, but it can be a critical step because if the food does not look good no one will ever taste it.
A sprig of parsley is boring and not enough while a construction of architectural proportions is overkill. It's always fun to play with food artistically, but please remember that it's food and not an original Picasso so don't get carried away.
Stay tuned for my great Taste of the Islands Nachos Recipe and stop by The Martini Diva for the latest designer martini recipes.
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