One of my favorite books is Simply Divine by the always gorgeous and chic Lisa Vanderpump. Between Lisa’s restaurants Sur and Villa Blanca, she undoubtedly is the hostess with the mostess. I wanted to share one of my favorite part of her book on table settings with you. Her simple yet effective tips have helped me a so much when entertaining and I know you will love them too!
Lisa says, “You don’t have to go to culinary school to master the art of arranging food on the plate so it’s a feast for the eyes as well as the mouth.”
Here are her top tips:
Use Large Plates. Larger plates are better for serving beautiful food. You don’t want your food to look crowded, the negative space around each item gives the entire place balance and energy.
Use White Dishes. This allows the food to stand out and make a statement. A neutral base also gives you the opportunity to pull a complementary color from your food into your table setting.
Use Color Groupings. Keep same-colored foods together.
Use Complimentary Colors As Garnishes. Try and contrast the color of your food with differently colored garnishes. If the food on your plate is mostly green, don’t add green parsley to the side. Instead find a red or hello, such as a teardrop tomato cut in half.
Use The Middle Of The Plate. Start in the middle of the plate to set out your meal rather than spreading everything all over the place.
Use Height. Try and raise the food in the middle of the plate. The starch is usually good for this. For example, scoop the rice into a tall mount with an ice cream scooper. Pile up the mashed potatoes and then lean your main meat against the mound to raise it up a bit.
Use Hot or Cold Dishes. Hot food stays longer on a warm plate. You can warm dishes in the oven or microwave provided they are safe for uses. Cold dishes can be stored in the fridge or freezer for a short time.
Use Edible Garnishes. Parsley and mint are perfect garnishes and should be kept on hand at all times. Sliced citrus fruit is also a great accompaniment for almost anything. Small cherry, grape or teardrop tomatoes are delightful. A bough of pine might look lovely on a table in December. Remember not to put anything on your guests plate that you don’t want them to eat.
Use Odd Numbers. For some odd reason, our eyes appreciate looking at items that aren’t counted evenly.
Use Sauces Sparingly. Rather than pooling sauce on a plate or covering your wonderful food with it, use just a hint on the plate and allow guests to help themselves to more in sauce bowls on the table. A single stripe of sauce on an empty part of the plate dripped off the end of a spoon is the safest bet. You can also get a plastic squeeze bottle to fill with sauce for more delicate lines, swirls or dots. Green pesto sauce is a lovely garnish on anything savory and chocolate sauce is amazing to keep on hand for anything sweet.
Use Deep Breathing. You needn’t stress yourself out about building the perfect plate. A simple, neat, organized plate with a single long sprig of cilantro or chive set across the top of everything is really all you need.