The subject of presentation is one which occupies many cooks.
Cooks who are just starting out, in many cases, invest and think more about presentation than about understanding the foundations. That’s fine, I was also like that—and it’s clear why, because it is exciting—the results are right before your eyes.
When I taught in culinary school, if there was time left I would, towards end of the class session , give a number of possible presentations for the dish—in essence a number of variations—in order to demonstrate the subject.
A number of parameters influence plate presentation:
Character of the restaurant
Number of employees in the kitchen staff
Message/style/approach that the chef wants to transmit
Style of presentation
It is important to understand—dish presentation is a very important process, it’s the moment in which everything you cooked, prepared, and cut undergoes final arrangement before the customer receives it, “your handprint”—proper presentation will look good, will be practical in relation to the kitchen staff at your disposal, and is not supposed to delay the dish leaving the kitchen.
In the pictures before you are four variations, under each picture is a short explanation on the nature of the presentation.
In this picture, the fish is served in the manner dictated by the school—the two fish fillets were fried in a pan, between them are julienned vegetables steamed with olive oil. On the side is an olive tapenade and salad
In this picture, the fish is placed in a metal ring lightly oiled / greased before cooking and takes advantage of a high temperature in the oven—the benefit is that you don’t have to deal with a pan, the presentation is very quick. Pay attention also that the ingredients here are presented in a slightly different manner than in the previous example: the tapenade is mixed in a sauce which adorns the outside of the plate. This method of preparation allows for early preparation and fast removal from the kitchen.
In this picture, the fish is served in a manner similar to that dictated by the school—the two filets underwent frying in a pan, between them are julienned vegetables steamed with olive oil. On the side is olive tapenade and salad. However, a square plate was used—in order to make up for the “dead” spaces on the plate and create interest, I added green oil to the sauce.
In this picture, there are no overlays—all of the filets underwent grilling under the a Salamandra (top grill) and all of the ingredients are served on top. Requires a little work—serving style that reminds you a little of a bistro/brasserie (notice that here there is also no tapenade, just plain olives).
I hope that this helped a little; thanks for reading!
It is important to note that all of the dishes were done by me during live demonstrations in front of my students at the culinary school, and the pictures I received from the students.