The Importance of Food Presentation
Why You Should Have Time for That
When it comes to food presentation, the Japanese are experts. From super kawaii (cute) character bento boxes to luxurious ¥30,000 sushi courses, it’s safe to say people place great importance on looks.
However, I don’t know about you but the word isogashi (busy) fittingly describes my life in Japan. So when it comes to food presentation, naturally my first response is: “ain’t nobody got time for that!” followed by a sour face.
Food presentation? Ain’t nobody got time for that…right?
But as it turns out, allocating a small portion of our precious time to presenting food in an attractive way comes with surprising benefits.
It helps with mindful eating
When it comes to mindful eating, seeing our food is really important. A simple exercise involves deeply looking at an object, in this case, the food in front of us, and working backwards to its “origin” – taking into account the various factors or ingredients that have allowed it to be exactly what it is in that precise moment. Looking at a beautiful and creatively presented dish is much easier than visually dissecting a sloppy plate.
Food tastes better
Eating is a sensuous experience. Before our mouths have tasted a thing, our eyes have already judged it. This makes visual appeal just as important as the taste which is why food-styling and food-photography are legitimate occupations. Further, during a recently conducted behavioural experiment, diners rated an artistically arranged salad as more delicious – and were prepared to pay more for it. See, it’s scientifically proven that food presentation bumps up food taste.
Food feels better too
Lately, there’s been a lot of literature written on clutter; on how a clutter-free home can significantly impact our emotional health, and how an uncluttered kitchen, can help us eat less. In the same way, an aesthetically presented meal is both an instant mood enhancer and a diet controller. You’re less likely to scoff down a beautifully assembled plate than a piled-up mess.
You can get creative
Unlike specific art forms, cooking is entirely universal. Everyone needs food. A meal then, can play storyteller, showcasing the personality, background and culture of its creator. Though taste plays a vital role here, so does appearance. How a meal is presented says a lot about its origin.
Because you’re worth it
Last but definitely not least, putting time aside for food presentation does not go unnoticed. Every parent should be familiar with this. Children are much more likely to eat their healthy dinner if it’s assembled in the shape of a cute animal. Further, such creativity and effort should not be confined to your picky children or important guests. You too, deserve a beautiful plate.
1. Less is more. Always. I often feel I’ve overdone it on the food presentation. So in my opinion, simple food nicely presented usually looks best.
2. A variety of textures and colors always looks great.
3. A little green can go a long way: parsley, coriander or dill (fresh or dried) atop savory dishes like soups, meats and salads looks gorgeous.
4. I’d like to think I’ve always known this but working in hospitality for a decade has taught me the importance of a clean plate.
5. For sweet breakfasts like granola, smoothie-bowls, waffles and pancakes, a sprinkle of shredded coconut and/or chia-seeds paired with fresh fruit is always a winner. Also, berries, berries make everything better. And a drizzle of honey or maple syrup. Oh, and smooth peanut butter. Chopped nuts. Dried apricots. Fresh flowers! Okay, okay I see I’m over-doing it again…