Basic Principles Of Platter Presentation

1. The three elements of a buffet platter:

• Centerpiece or grosse pièce (gross pyess).This may be an uncut portion of the main food item, such as a pâté or a cold roast, decorated and displayed whole. It may be a separate but related item, such as a molded salmon mousse on a platter of poached slices of salmon in aspic. It may be something as simple as a bowl or ravier (rahv yay; an oval relish dish) of sauce or condiment. Or it may be strictly for decoration, such as a butter sculpture or a squash vase filled with vegetable flowers.Whether or not the grosse pièce is intended to be eaten,it should be made of edible materials.

• The slices or serving portions of the main food item, arranged artistically.

• The garnish, arranged artistically, in proportion to the cut slices.

2. The food should be easy to handle and serve, so one portion can be removed without ruining the arrangement.

3. A simple design is best. Simple arrangements are easier to serve,more appetizing than overworked food, and more likely to be still attractive when they are half demolished by the guests.

Simple arrangements may be the hardest to produce. Everything has to be perfect because less decoration is available to divide the attention.

4. Attractive platter presentations may be made on silver or other metals, mirrors, china, plastic, wood, or many other materials, as long as they are presentable and suitable for use with food. Metal platters that might cause discoloration or metallic flavors are often covered with a thin layer of aspic before the food is placed on them.

5. Once a piece of food has touched the tray, do not remove it. Shiny silver or mirror trays are easily smudged, and you'll have to wash the tray and start over again.This shows the importance of good planning.

Following this rule also helps eliminate overhandling of food, which is a bad sanitary practice.

6. Think of the platter as part of the whole buffet. It must look attractive and appropriate not only by itself but among the other presentations on the table. The arrangement should always be planned from the same angle from which it will be seen on the buffet.

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Begin your planning sketch of a buffet platter by dividing the tray into six or eight sections. This helps you lay out a balanced, symmetrical design. The examples shown here indicate the placement of the main items (usually slices of foods), the centerpiece (labeled c), and the garnish (shown as tiny circles).

Figure 28.2

Arranging rows of foods in curves or angled lines gives movement to the design.

Figure 28.2

Arranging rows of foods in curves or angled lines gives movement to the design.

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