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Greenhills Subdivision, Pagdaraoan, City of San Fernando, La Union

Asian Cuisine

Garnishing and Presentation Guidelines

Food Presentation relates to both plating of foods and to display of foods that are
created in foodservice outlets and food bars. Foods are presented to a professional level
that is appropriate to the kitchen that is producing the food. The way food is presented
often determines the first impression of a meal. Color, height, balance and portion size are
equally important influences in our initial reaction to a dish. A garnish provides a positive,
visual element that gives food a special finishing touch. It adds harmony to the
organization of food on a serving dish.
A carefully thought out and well-presented dish needs little or no embellishment.
Use dish components to garnish a meal. The colors, shape and textures, when artistically
arranged, can negate the need for further decoration.


 Plan the garnish with the arrangement of food so it can be viewed as

a whole.
 Visualize how you want a dish to look before you start. Use
garnishes, plates, cutlery, glassware and table setting to enhance
the effect.
 Determine a focal point to attract the diner’s eye; the garnish does
Plan and not always go on top of or next to the food.
Construction  Practice constructing a dish requiring height for visual effect. Build
on a stable base – often the starch or vegetable component, and
work upward with the hero ingredient at the top.
 Simplify. Complicated constructions can often detract from the
overall enjoyment of a dish – both visual effect and flavor can be
 Be creative.
 Only ingredients that are edible should be presented with food.
Sometimes toothpicks or skewers are needed to secure or hold
Edible garnishes together, keep these to a minimum.
Garnishes  Be careful when using flowers and leaves a garnishes ensure that
they are edible.
 Always wash the garnish and never be tempted to re-use a garnish.
 Balance is achieved through careful arrangement of color, shape,
texture, flavor and portion size.
 The plate size and decoration should be in the proportion to the
amount of food construction and color in a dish.
Balance  Arrangements in the odd numbers can work more effectively than
even numbers. For example, three cherry tomato halves around the
edge of a large circular plate present better than four.
 Use foods and garnishes that give variety and contrast to your
presentation but don’t overdo it!
 Harmonize the color of the garnish with the food.
 An arrangement of colors that are too similar, it will not add any eye
appeal or interest.
 A clashing of color will detract from the food.
Textures  Use the garnish to vary the textures of the food, e.g. a smooth-
textured Cream of Cauliflower Soup could be garnished with golden

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Developed by: Mervenn D. Aguado
Greenhills Subdivision, Pagdaraoan, City of San Fernando, La Union
Asian Cuisine

brown fried croutons, which would not only provide contrast of

texture but also color to the dish.
 Use relevant or complementary ingredient.
 The flavor and style of the garnish should complement the meal, e.g.
a parsley sprig should not be used to garnish a dessert but a mint
leaf can be used instead.
 The garnish size should be in relation to the size of the food items
 Too large garnish will make the plate look overcrowded and detract
from the food items.
 Too small garnish will be lost in the food items.
 A food which is delicate requires a delicate garnish, e.g. a twist of
lemon is more suitable for a seafood crepe than a lemon basket.
 A delicate garnish such as a sprig of tarragon would not enhance a
dense type of food such as a beef casserole.
 To maintain and heighten the color of fruits and vegetables and
Blanching prevent zest from drying out.
and  Always blanch and refresh products.
Refreshing  Immerse in boiling water for a minute, drain and rinse under cold
running water until wet.
 Once cut, some foods discolor quickly e.g. apples, pears, bananas,
avocados, potatoes and eggplant.
 To slow the discoloration process down cover or sprinkle with
acidulated water.
 Alternatively prepare as close as possible to service time.
 When garnishing large platter as an accomplishment to the main
Quantity item, there must be a sufficient number of garnish for each main
item, e.g. lemon wedges with fish fillets on a large platter.
 Choose a garnish suitable to the temperature of the food being
Temperature served, e.g. a garnish that has the potential to melt or become limp
should not be placed on a hot food.
 It is best to make garnishes just before serving.
 Some garnishes, e.g. carved vegetables, can be prepared beforehand
and covered with cold water.
 Always dry off before using.
 Different parts of a garnish can be prepared ahead of time and
Storage assembled at the last minute.
 Store garnishes as you would the food commodity, e.g. if made from
dried foods, do not refrigerate. Wrap and store at room temperature.
 If made with ingredients that are normally refrigerated, seal by
wrapping in plastic wrap, an airtight container or plastic bag and
 Try and keep garnishes away from air and heat to prevent drying
out. Keep air-tight with plastic wrap where possible.

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Developed by: Mervenn D. Aguado