“You first eat with your eyes”

Plating and food presentation play a huge role in how we experience food. When a plate of food is put in front of me the first thing I always do is look at it. At this point I’m already calculating if I’m going to enjoy the dish. Just by looking at the plate I can predict if I’m going to have a scrumptious eating adventure or a blah eating experience. Next I take a big whiff, and then that first exciting bite. Now granted sometimes I’m wrong and the gray mush on my plate actually tastes yummy or the beautifully decorated plate of food is too salty or lacks exciting flavors but more often than not that first look is spot on! A well designed plate leads to a delicious meal!

So if plating and presentation is so crucial in our experience with food, you’re probably wondering what types of things you could do to make your plates look delicious? We'll let you in on our secrets... (Thanks to the helpful information from our On Cooking textbook!)

Tips to making your plates look great:

  • Use Color! Plated food should have balanced, contrasting colors. So spice up that Mac and cheese with a little paprika on top or parsley on the side.
  • Use different textures. Use a variety of different visual textures. Pair foods with smoother textures (sauces, glazes, etc.) with foods that have coarser textures (mashed potatoes, pasta, etc.).
  • Use shapes & proportions appropriately. The “main” food component should be the largest piece of food on the plate, the accompanying side dishes and garnish should complement, not overwhelm the main course.
  • Arrangement. Plated foods should have a natural “focal point”—the spot that first draws your attention when you look at the dish

Now that our Brainfood participants have mastered the basics of cooking and how to use herbs and spices to enhance the smell and taste of their foods, it was time for their next challenge! This week our Brainfood participants were given 45 minutes to prepare and plate their food dishes so that it was appealing to eater. As always the participants “wow”-ed us! They each came up with creative ways to use color, texture, and arrangement to make plates that you really wanted to dig in and eat. Below you can check out a sampling of their work.


Which plate of food looks yummy to you?


A long way

Hi all,

BrainFood has came a long way from just a group of young urban kids finding something to occupy there time after school. From cooking @ DC central kitchen to creating the 4 young'z Salsa. I'm just so glad that so so many kids got this great opportunity to experience the same joy I experienced with participating in Brainfood.

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