The late Chef Eric shares his pro tips for making food look beautiful on the plate ... just in time for Thanksgiving. Follow Eric's advice based on these four BUFF elements-Balance, Unity, Focal Point and Flow:
A Beautiful Plate Using the "BUFF" Elements
Balance - Balance is important in cooking, but it's also important in plating. Shoot for a balance of colors, shapes, sizes and amount on the plate.
Unity - All the elements on the plate should work together as one, rather than appearing as separate with the "white space" of the plate in between. Think overlapping layers, again incorporating balance as well. For instance, rather than individual mounds of spinach, green beans, turkey and stuffing (two green foods and two beige foods, incidentally), think of a small bed of stuffing topped by a bit of spinach, with a few slices of turkey laid along its side and accented by the green beans ... and maybe a couple of carrots for color.
Focal Point - As with a photo or painting, you want your plate to have a central focal point that anchors the eye. For instance, in the case of the plate I was describing above in Unity, a dab of our Blood Orange Cranberry Relish beside the stuffing would draw the eye beautifully.
Flow - The idea of flow is to give the eye a natural path to follow, and a good rule of thumb is to mimic nature when possible. For example, when plating turkey slices, fan them along the plate as if they just fell off the bone. Feel free to use accents, like I did with the streak of Blood Orange Syrup on the platter, to strengthen the line of flow.
I hope these tips help make your plates gorgeous this Thanksgiving and for many other Holidays to come!