Eating with our Eyes


When you go to your local cafe or restaurant, you are likely to spend some time perusing the menu hoping to find something that will meet your satiable needs. Sometimes it’s a menu favourite, other times you’re intrigued to try something new, and occasionally it comes down to just one enticing ingredient that will jump off the menu that helps you decide on your order.

But what happens when you really don’t see anything that you are particularly drawn to? More often than not you start looking around at the dishes being brought to other tables. How often have you seen a waiter or waitress go past with a meal that is instantly appealing?

Our first impression of a dish begins the eating journey. So here are a few simple tips to help raise your food presentation to the next level…

  • Create texture – Make sure your dish has a variety of textural components; smooth, soft, crunch, dry, wet, creamy. These will not only contribute visually to your plate, they will make the eating experience really interesting and enjoyable.
  • Create colour balance – Whilst it may taste great, an all brown meal on a plate is not visually interesting or enticing and will always be remembered for its blandness.
  • Get out the good stuff – Have some nice crockery in the cupboard that you never use because it is too good? …Use it!  Maybe not for everyday weekly meals, but when you have time to try that new dish on the weekend or have friends and family over don’t be afraid to use the ‘good’ stuff. After all, now is the occasion.
  • Portion control – Not too big, not too small, but just right. It is important to get the size of your meals just right.  On the one hand we don’t want to return to the nouvelle cuisine of the 80’s, but we also don’t want to overload the plate. Think about the full composition of your meal, whether you are serving one, two, three or more courses and adjust your portion sizes accordingly.

So next time you are serving a meal, take a little time to think of how the components can come together to present an irresistible plate of food that everyone wants to devour.

Photo of Macadamia crusted scallops & cauliflower gremolata, green apple, raisins, blackcurrant gel & caper noisette by Farrel Hirsch of View Restaurant, Johannesburg

Published by Creative Feel