Plate Size and Presentation

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Proud Texan's picture
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One of DW's signature breakfast is causing us problems by leaving a lot of empty space after the food has been plated.   It looks kind of naked.  Usually,  that space is filled with fresh fruit.  

We don't like this for two reasons:   1) Fruit is seasonal and the presentation becomes inconsistent and problematic  2)  We'd like to serve the fruit separately as a fruit course.

After analyzing the situation,  we've determined that our plates are too large for this breakfast.  Should we opt for a smaller plate?   We were thinking a 10" Buffet-Style plate would accomodate the main breakfast course and give the overall impression of the plate being full.   We're also trying to avoid the added expense of unnecessary garnishes.

Suggestions?

gillumhouse's picture
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I just bought some new chargers. I now have black, red plastic, red glass, gold, and silver. I change them with the sets of dishes and with the color of tablecloth being used. I think they add a lot to the setting.

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Plate presentation cannot be overstated! The fact is that before we ever taste the food on the plate we look at it. If the presentation is pleasing we are happy to proceed if it is not we proceed with caution, however if the food is beautifully presented we can’t wait to try it. The other impact of a beautifully presented plate is that it lets the diner know that someone in the kitchen really cares about the guests in dining room. I think that it is important not to crowd the plate; it is actually beneficial to not have the entire plate covered in food. Plate presentation does not have to be complicated. Presenting plates on should consider colors, textures, and flavors. Combinations of these components are very important it is vital that the flavors work together. Almost all plates require at least a touch of brilliant color; perhaps something a simple as some nicely cut chives or sprig of mint. Texture is very important to a dish to create interest, a crispy element can add greatly to a simple dish such as adding a panko crust to the goat cheese on a salad and or caramelized pecans. Garnishes don’t have to be costly at all. I keep a large variety herb garden right out side the kitchen door, and in the winter I replant them into a herb box that sits on the picture window sill in the kitchen. I take clipping from them daily. As far a plate selection I personally prefer white only but I do like some variety.

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Lovely inn in Virginia.  Dayn.

There is an error page here when you click on View our policies (fyi)

PS You had me at  "panko crust to the goat cheese on a salad" I tweeted yesterday "Why am I so in love with goat cheese..."

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Madeleine's picture
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Great ideas! Now is the time of year I move the herb garden inside.

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glengordonmanor wrote:

 I keep a large variety herb garden right out side the kitchen door, and in the winter I replant them into a herb box that sits on the picture window sill in the kitchen. I take clipping from them daily.  

 What the drought didn't get, the deer did.

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I love the episode of Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares where he goes to the Fenwick Arms to help a man with a plate addiction. The old boy has 30 different styles of plates in his restaurant, and uses a different size/shape of plate for every different item on his menu.

Ramsay makes him sell his stacks of square plates on eBay, saying a proper pub should not be serving food on square plates. Then later Ramsay finds that the pub owner has a bunch of square plates stashed in the crawl space or something. Just couldn't bring himself to sell them all.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XRNwKpZV7A

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Arkansawyer wrote:

I love the episode of Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares where he goes to the Fenwick Arms to help a man with a plate addiction. The old boy has 30 different styles of plates in his restaurant, and uses a different size/shape of plate for every different item on his menu.

Ramsay makes him sell his stacks of square plates on eBay, saying a proper pub should not be serving food on square plates. Then later Ramsay finds that the pub owner has a bunch of square plates stashed in the crawl space or something. Just couldn't bring himself to sell them all.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4XRNwKpZV7A

I remember this episode. The man was plate crazy. Ramsay kept on finding more and more dishes. And I think he made them smash some too.

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PS I would love to visit every inn on this forum and check out your settings and how you plate, that would be a road trip and a half! I would love it!

I just read the responses, I have square plates I use as well, really like the squares. (Squares are for salad on top of the rounds, just for clarification) or dessert. Smiling  

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

PS I would love to visit every inn on this forum and check out your settings and how you plate, that would be a road trip and a half! I would love it!

I just read the responses, I have square plates I use as well, really like the squares. (Squares are for salad on top of the rounds, just for clarification) or dessert. Smiling  

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Proud Texan wrote:

One of DW's signature breakfast is causing us problems by leaving a lot of empty space after the food has been plated.   It looks kind of naked.  Usually,  that space is filled with fresh fruit.  

We don't like this for two reasons:   1) Fruit is seasonal and the presentation becomes inconsistent and problematic  2)  We'd like to serve the fruit separately as a fruit course.

After analyzing the situation,  we've determined that our plates are too large for this breakfast.  Should we opt for a smaller plate?   We were thinking a 10" Buffet-Style plate would accomodate the main breakfast course and give the overall impression of the plate being full.   We're also trying to avoid the added expense of unnecessary garnishes.

Suggestions?

Before reading other responses here is my answer in a nutshell...You need a variety of settings. Smiling

Example: I have an omelette I make for one or two couples at the table and IF I put the ham in it then the omelette becomes the main thing, and to keep the main thing the main thing I need to use a small plate, so it shows as it is, a nice large omelette.  I then, in this instance, chop up a few green onions, aka shallots and it can help fill in any bare areas.  I always plate in threes, so no matter what I serve, there it is a tri plate. So for this main omelette I use lesser other items, ie sliced tomatoes or potatoes etc, otherwise I would put slices of ham there.

Hrd to explain, but if it doesn't have width then it needs height.  

Joey Camb's picture
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someone made the point to me yesterday so will pop it on here as I remember someone saying they fancied square plates earlier in discussions - apparently they are a complete pain in the dishwasher so be warned if you fancied them.

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muirford's picture
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 I have an egg dish made with potatoes that we serve with a side of mesclun or baby spinach and a squirt of viniagerette.  It adds color to the presentation and lightens the plate.  I get salad greens spring through fall in my CSA and buy baby spinach for use in omelettes, and neither goes to waste because we also eat them.  

I have downsized any new plates I've bought - going to the elliptical soup bowls vs. the traditional rimmed soup bowls has decreased my serving sizes so now I don't need to make as much fruit soup for the starter.  

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Madeleine's picture
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OK, that sounds like exactly what we had to eat!

muirford's picture
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Madeleine wrote:
OK, that sounds like exactly what we had to eat!

Well, I can share that recipe with you, but it will sound very, very familiar.  We do ours with sausage links on the side, natch.

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muirford wrote:

Madeleine wrote:
OK, that sounds like exactly what we had to eat!

Well, I can share that recipe with you, but it will sound very, very familiar.  We do ours with sausage links on the side, natch.

OK, never mind, completely different! Looks similar, tastes different!

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 We use 10" plates and regardless of whether they had the fruit dish or not I add a strawberry garnish which I slice part-way through and fan slightly... Only problem is when I occassionally cannot find a decent box of strawberries in the store. Just that single strawberry really seems to transform the plate from boring to gourmet!

Also, I use my 12" good china plates as a charger ... the place setting is laid out with the cloth napkin in a napkin ring centered on the china plate, then fruit is served in small-ish glass bowls set on 6" bread plate which I place on the china plate, then I remove the fruit bowl/plate but leave the 12" china plate, then the entree is served on 10" plate placed on the china plate. The dishes I actually put the food on are sturdier ivory edged in gold that looks very nice against the china -- I put that stuff through the dishwasher, but handwash the china...it rarely needs any more than a light soaping to clean it up...

Sometimes I think of just getting some nice casual everyday dishes, but it would not work well with our decor (early 19th century victorian-ish)...

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Proud Texan's picture
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bc30md wrote:

 We use 10" plates and regardless of whether they had the fruit dish or not I add a strawberry garnish which I slice part-way through and fan slightly... Only problem is when I occassionally cannot find a decent box of strawberries in the store. Just that single strawberry really seems to transform the plate from boring to gourmet!

Also, I use my 12" good china plates as a charger ... the place setting is laid out with the cloth napkin in a napkin ring centered on the china plate, then fruit is served in small-ish glass bowls set on 6" bread plate which I place on the china plate, then I remove the fruit bowl/plate but leave the 12" china plate, then the entree is served on 10" plate placed on the china plate. The dishes I actually put the food on are sturdier ivory edged in gold that looks very nice against the china -- I put that stuff through the dishwasher, but handwash the china...it rarely needs any more than a light soaping to clean it up...

Sometimes I think of just getting some nice casual everyday dishes, but it would not work well with our decor (early 19th century victorian-ish)...

I like the idea of using the larger plates as a charger.  Unfortunately,  our larger plates are square.   If we go to the 10" plates,  which I think we will,  then we can possibly find something to use as a charger plate.  We went solid white to begin with,  but we'd like to add some color to the mix.   We do change out the placemats each time, which does add a lot of color.

Breakfast Diva's picture
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We use luncheon plates for the entree/meat and separate fruit glasses to present the fruit. By using the smaller luncheon plate, it looks like more food and makes for an easier presentation.

Generic's picture
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We use smaller plates for smaller items. 

If I could, I would use plates like the French use. The central part of the plate is about the size of a bread plate, but the whole dish is the size of a large plate. People get proper portions, but it looks nicer.

gillumhouse's picture
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When I use my Steubenville China, I use the luncheon plate instead of the dinner plate for breakfast. Unfortunately none of the other sets have luncheon plates. Smaller plates is good.

A squirt of whipped cream with a marischino cherry with stem makes a nice plate filler garnish. I accidently got the with stem last time I bought cherries. Cost more, but does look nicer as a garnish item.

Madeleine's picture
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Depends on what it is you're serving. If it's an egg dish could you add something like a salsa to take up space? Put the eggs on a large leaf of spinach? Or do you want to get smaller plates?

We recently had what we understood was a 'small' serving because we're so used to plating food now. The empty space was taken up with a single strawberry and a hint of whipped cream. Nice, colorful presentation. The next day the space was occupied by a mesclun salad. Relatively inexpensive and you eat the rest of it yourself for dinner.

It's always hard for me to think in terms of buying additional serving pieces given I need to buy for 20 to make it work. Easier for you and you could get something fun.

Arks's picture
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When my family ran a restaurant in the 90's, smaller plate is how they handled empty space syndrome.

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