How to Plate Like a Restaurant Chef

One of the most entertaining parts of going out to eat at a fancy restaurant is seeing an artistic plate of food being put down before your eyes.

Because you are paying $200 for very tiny plates of dollhouse food, it is extremely important to nod your head and say things like, “This is so whimsical! There is just so much whimsy in this dish. Whimsy.” Then you are supposed to talk about the chef for four hours straight, while the server listens to you politely. But, you know, I do not have very much money and cannot afford this kind of food anymore. I can only stay at home and watch Love Actually by myself until I cry the tears of a lonely angel, doomed to walk this earth alone with his penis in his hand.

Now, there are many people in the world who cannot afford this kind of food. The next best thing to do is look at the Beautiful Food Plating Ideas section on Pinterest so you can do this activity at home.

While this may not help you totally recreate the ambiance of a fancy restaurant, it is a very cool thing to do. You are generally required to put photos of this food on Instagram even if you are at home. Important food personalities look at your photos, and you never know if you’re going to become a famous food celebrity this way.

“But Dannis Ree,” you say, “I do not know how to plate like a restaurant chef. Do you have any guidance as how to do this? I would like to have some sex and this is a good way to impress someone, so that they agree to do a sex thing with me.”

While I do not know too much about sex, as always, I am here for you. And so today, I will show you how to plate like a restaurant chef.

How to Plate Ingredients

Restaurant chefs often have innovative ways to plate your food so that it looks intriguing.

Some chefs use antique plates, others have utensils custom-made for them, and sometimes chefs even have art backgrounds to show you how dedicated they are to their craft. Thankfully, you have everything you need at home without having to go back to school.

I will take you through a three course meal to give you inspiration. Let’s start with the appetizer!

How to Plate Before Smash

One of the most important parts of restaurant plating is the actual plateware itself.

In order to create a sense of artisan craftsmanship, get a hammer, and wrap a towel around a plate that you got at Marshall’s. Marshall’s is a store where you can get brand-name and designer goods for a very reasonable price.

How to Plate After Smash

Next, smash the plate with your hammer using your pent-up sexual rage.

Don’t worry, it won’t take more than one square hit. Your mother once tried to hit me with a hammer, but since I have the lightning-fast reflexes of a rabid squirrel, I was able to jump out a third-story window and sustain major injuries to my face instead of my testicles. Also I did end up injuring my testicles anyway.

How to Plate Finger Slice

Be very careful as ceramic is insanely sharp; you can cut yourself on the edges.

Sometimes danger is an intriguing element to add to food, and people will be proud to say they survived one of your meals.

How to Plate Bacon Roses

For this example, I rolled up bacon into tight little anuses (I was going for roses), and nestled them into a microwave-safe bowl and nuked them until they were crisp, about 5 minutes.

The fat will render out of the bacon, nearly submerging your bacon anuses. While that seems unappealing, it helps the bacon crisp up nicely.

How to Plate Shard Potato

I fried up some thinly-sliced potatoes so they also resembled flower pieces, but this time they looked like dead magnolia petals.

This symbolizes life and death.

How to Plate Shard Potato Bacon Anus

Next, I simply put the crisp bacon anus next to the dead magnolia potato petals.

This symbolizes, life, death, and buttholes.

How to Plate Shard Potato Bacon Anus Egg

Always add a sous vide-cooked egg to your appetizers for absolutely no reason.

Chefs often add an ingredient that costs $0.25, cook it in an industrial kitchen, and charge you an extra $5 for it.

How to Plate Shard Complete

To finish the plate, reopen your sliced finger laceration and drip blood on your food in a calculated yet random manner.

The blood signifies your sacrifice to the diner, plus it adds a pop of appealing hemoglobin color. Sprinkle some dry stuff (any dry stuff) on top of the egg, and you’re finished. See? Wasn’t that easy?

Naming is important too, so I call this, “Roses, Magnolias, Bloodborne Pathogens, and The No-Reason Egg.”

How to Plate Meat Anus

For the main entree, I decided to go with beef.

It is your life. These are merely my suggestions. You can do what you want and cook what you want. Interestingly enough, I learned that beef that comes in plastic tubes is called a “chub.” Your mother likes chubs.

The end of a chub, once opened, resembles an anus, much like the bacon roses in the example appetizer. I am seeing a theme in today’s thought-piece.

How to Plate Meat Cooking

Let your food cook to a mottled pink and red. 

If you deliberately undercook the meat, you can consider it a partially-cooked tartare, which is a famous French raw meat dish. This version is particularly a bad idea because beef chub is generally not high-quality meat, but remember, you’re going for quirkiness and possible food poisoning.

How to Plate Pinata

For plating, consider something interactive, like this piñata I purchased at the party store. 

Harvey and Mr. Bee liked this hat piñata very much since it suits their sense of patriotic fashion. Too bad for them that it would soon be filled with undercooked ground beef.

How to Plate Ketchup Soap Dispenser

Now, since this is an interactive-style example, saucing is very important. 

To make this meal feel like an experience rather than just spiritually empty calories, consider a unique serving vessel, like this foaming soap dispenser. While this is simply ketchup, you can give it a cool name like “Grandpa’s Ol’ Cough Medicine.”

How to Plate Meat Pinata Hole

Cram your beef into the hole violently.

Now, you would imagine I would say something about your mother’s hole, a chub, and red meat, but that is wildly inappropriate and I will not stand for such behavior regarding food.

How to Plate Meat Pinata Outside

For the truly interactive part of the meal, invite your guests to come outside in the single-digit degree weather to bash the piñata with a baseball bat.

I hung this piñata on my neighbor’s fence because my landlady was home and I did not want her to see me destroying a ground beef-filled children’s party novelty in her nice backyard.

How to Plate Meat Pinata Outside Prep

Stand outside, looking mildly confused, and have your roommate take photos of you.

I did not want to ruin his baseball bat so we agreed that the towel was a good idea.

How to Plate Meat Pinata Falling

Here is an action shot of me striking the piñata as it fell lamely off the fence.

I was once considered as a candidate for an office softball team, but since I have the musculature of a newborn infant, things didn’t quite work out as I would have liked.

How to Plate Meat Pinata Towel

The towel fell off.

This is okay, because unexpected turns and twists during your dinner is all part of the fun.

How to Plate Meat Pinata Action

I used my herculean strength to beat off the piñata.

I often enjoy beating off with your mother, but this is neither here nor there. It is simply a facet of my soulful existence. Also, a neighbor drove by as I was doing this and I am surprised that he did not call the cops.

How to Plate Meat Finished

Tear off a piece of the piñata and use it as a serving utensil.

Let your guests apply ketchup from the soap dispenser as they desire. Turns out ketchup does not work well in a soap dispenser. It makes funny hissing noises while splattering over the partially cooked meat.

Now remember, always serve way less than your guest’s appetite, because fancy restaurants always do this to leave you wanting more. And don’t forget an interesting name!

I call this entree “Vigilante Justice: The Meal.”

How to Plate Hat

For dessert, I found this Mandarin hat at the party store to use as a staging prop.

I am trying to decide if this hat is mildly racist. When I Google image search for “Mandarin hat” all I see is a bunch of white people wearing this hat with a gleeful grin on their face. A lot of food involves cultural appropriation, so mild racism is in-line with fine dining applications.

How to Plate Hat Brownie

Now, most chefs say not to plate food with garnishes you cannot eat.

However, they are hypocrites. I have seen many garnishes you cannot eat on plates, including those weird plastic grass things that come on many sushi platters. So I consider the toxic industrial-strength adhesive I used to affix pastries to the hat appropriate regardless of general opinion. Like Vigilante Justice: The Meal, I consider this course also interactive, since you can wear it on your head while dancing around to inoffensive electronic music as you enjoy your sweets.

How to Plate Hat Brownie Donut

As you see, Harvey likes donuts and miniature store-bought brownie bites as he uses Mr. Bee’s head as a way to hoist himself up for a good view.

For an added bonus, I have included a small blowtorch so that you and your guests can attempt to set each other’s heads on fire during dessert. I call this dish “East Meets West in The Third Degree.” 

To recap my guide to plating like a restaurant chef at home, let’s go over what I did:

  • For the Roses, Magnolias, Bloodborne Pathogens, and The No-Reason Egg course, I smashed a perfectly good plate, made bacon anuses, and bled all over food.
  • For Vigilante Justice: The Meal, I filled a piñata with undercooked beef, destroyed it in a city alleyway, and squirted ketchup from a soap dispenser onto it.
  • And for East Meets West in the Third Degree, I superglued cheap pastries to the top of a probably racist hat and encouraged people to light each other on fire.

I hope you guys have learned some valuable culinary lessons from me today. I also hope you never take cooking advice from me, ever. I will never win a James Beard Award, but I am full of good advice, and your mother is full of beef chubs.

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  12 comments for “How to Plate Like a Restaurant Chef

  1. Yvo
    January 19, 2016 at 10:45 AM

    James Beard Award for Comedic Food Writing is a real thing (the name might be different) but this still… was very full of whimsy.

    • Dennis Lee
      January 19, 2016 at 11:06 AM

      I looked at last year’s nominees not too long ago. They weren’t conventionally funny, more like “this is my idea of being silly while being a very serious food writer” funny.

  2. January 19, 2016 at 10:45 AM

    I had finally caught up on every single article on this site when, lo and behold, I saw that a new one had been posted. What a wonderful day at work for me.

    Just wanted to let you know that I’ve dubbed your site The Best Food Blog on The Internet, and have said so to all of my friends. There is also at least one recipe on here that I plan on recreating myself. I’ll leave it up to you to guess which one it might be-

    • Dennis Lee
      January 19, 2016 at 11:07 AM

      Tuesday mornings, my friend! Unless I’m dead. There is always that chance based off what I eat.

      Also, it better not be the Play-Doh Empanadas.

      • January 19, 2016 at 3:34 PM

        Play-Doh Empanadas tops the list of foods I would never cook and eat, and that I’m sorry you ever tasted.

        • Dennis Lee
          January 20, 2016 at 12:06 AM

          I accept your regret upon my behalf.

  3. Neurozach
    January 19, 2016 at 4:00 PM

    Vigilante Justice: The Meal is one of your most brilliant creations.

    • Dennis Lee
      January 20, 2016 at 12:07 AM

      I AM THE CHAMPION OF THE CULINARY PEOPLE WHO FEEL HUNG UP ON A FENCE AND BASHED IN THE SIDE OF THE HEAD

  4. January 19, 2016 at 9:29 PM

    It’s such a shame I run a food poisoning and botulism free house hold or date night would be had!! Another great article!

    • Dennis Lee
      January 20, 2016 at 12:08 AM

      Thank you! Botulism is a good way to destroy a fantastic evening, mainly because of death.

  5. bob
    September 24, 2016 at 8:25 PM

    Well, I guess we’ve “met” through email. I will now subscribe.
    Anuses.

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