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Food Presentation and Garnish

6. When using a sauce or gravy, add it attractively.
Sauces are essential parts of many dishes, but sometimes ladling sauce all over an
item hides colors and shapes.If the item is attractive by itself,let the customer see
it.Ladle the sauce around or under it,or possibly covering only part of it,as with a
band of sauce across the center.Always think of the sauce as part of the overall design
of the plate.
7. Keep it simple.
As you have heard before,simplicity is more attractive than overworked,contrived
arrangements and complicated designs. Unusual patterns are occasionally effective,
but avoid making the food look too cute or too elaborate.
One of the simplest plating styles can also be one of the most attractive if it is
carefully done—that is, placing only the meat or fish item and its sauce, if any, in
the center of the plate,and serving vegetable accompaniments in separate dishes.
This method is often used in restaurants to simplify service in the kitchen.However,
it is usually best to use this method for only some of the menu items in order
to avoid monotony.

Serve hot foods hot,on hot plates.
Serve cold foods cold,on cold plates.
Your arrangement of beautiful food will not make much of a final impression if you
forget this rule.

The word garnish is derived from a French word meaning “to adorn” or “to furnish.”
In English,we use the word to mean “to decorate or embellish a food item by the addition
of other items.”The word is used also for the decorative items themselves.
This definition,at first,seems vague because it could include just about anything.To
many people, the word garnish means a sprig of parsley haphazardly placed on the
plate. Just as common is the practice in some restaurants of adopting a single garnish
and using it routinely on every plate,from prime rib to batter-fried shrimp.No one garnish
is appropriate for every plate,just as no one side dish is appropriate for every plate.
In fact,the term garnish has been used for a great variety of preparations and techniques
in the history of classical and modern cuisines.Today,the use of parsley sprigs on
every plate has become rare,and we are again using the word garnish in a more traditional

In classical cooking, the terms garnish and garniture have been used the way we use
the term accompaniments.In other words,garnishes are any items placed on the platter
or plate or in the soup bowl in addition to the main item. It happens that these accompaniments
also make the food look more attractive, but that is not the emphasis.
The classical French chef had a tremendous repertoire of simple and elaborate garnishes,
and they all had specific names. A trained chef,or a well-informed diner, for that
matter,knew that the word Rachel on the menu meant that the dish was served with artichoke
bottoms filled with poached marrow and that Portugaise meant a garnish of
stuffed tomatoes.
There were so many of these names,however, that no one could remember them
all. So they were cataloged in handbooks to be used by chefs. Le Répertoire de la Cuisine,
first published in 1914 and one of these handbooks,has 209 listings in the garnish
section alone,not to mention nearly 7,000 other preparations,all with their own names.
The garnishes may be as simple as the one called Concorde or as complex as the one
called Tortue, quoted here to give you an idea of the complexity and elaborateness of
classical garnish.
Concorde (for large joints)—Peas,glazed carrots,mashed potatoes.
Tortue (for Entrées)—Quenelles, mushroom heads, gherkins, garlic, collops of
tongue and calves’brains,small fried eggs,heart-shaped croutons,crayfish,slices
of truffles.Tortue sauce.

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