Arrange and garnish dishes

Taste experience for all senses

Enchant your loved ones with artfully presented dishes at dinner time or guests at a party. Nothing is more appetizing than appealingly placed food on fine porcelain. Lovingly decorated and garnished, a simple meal becomes a taste experience for all senses. You can learn how to arrange and garnish dishes in our guide.

Selecting the plates

Gourmets aren't the only ones who know: Your eyes feast too.
Every meal can become a feast for eyes and mouth with the right ideas and tricks.

Before you begin to arrange and garnish your food, think about the dishes you want to use: Classic white ones, delicately patterned ones, brightly colored or mysteriously dark
- your dishes and food should complement each other and help you create that enchanting effect:

A delicate, pink salmon fillet or creamy yogurt on a dark toned plate already looks appealing just by the presentation. Dark tableware is especially suited for giving light-colored ingredients contrast. Or, try using several different colored plates - exciting colorful accents are guaranteed.

Whether you are an experienced restaurant chef or simply like to cook at home in your own kitchen - people who appreciate the fine things in life know that white porcelain is the best choice for a stylish arrangement.

Your artful creations will be set off best on plain dinnerware in light colors. You should also harmonize the shape and type of dinnerware to the dish being served: For instance, fish looks best on a long plate while pasta looks tastiest in a deep plate.

Decorating plates

Every meal tastes better when it’s enticingly arranged. A classic rule in gastronomy, when it comes to decoration, is that the edge of the plate belongs to the guest. That is a way of remembering that when decorating the edge, reserve is in order. All that’s needed is a few swift flicks of the wrist to make a big effect: Fresh herbs or edible flowers sprinkled on the plate, or reduced balsamic vinegar arranged in a skillful line on the plate whets the appetite for more. Prettily arranged vegetable slices are ideal for garnishing dishes. Potatoes sliced and fanned out on a plate can create a tempting look. For dessert, sprinkle fine powdered sugar or cocoa on the edge to bring rapture to the faces of young and old.


For arranging food appetizingly

Meat and fish

Large roasts, such as a roasted goose, and fish dishes, such as a whole trout, look best when presented whole on a platter at the table and then sliced. Smaller pieces of meat, such as tender steaks, look best when pieces are fanned appetizingly on the plate.


Appetizers can be presented in a completely new light with little additional effort: Arranged in glasses or small forms instead of plates, the entrées look visually attractive.
As an option, consider layering the various ingredients
when placing in the glass.


Delicious soups can be served in cups with crispy bread or veggie kebabs on the saucer. A dollop of fresh cream on top and your soup will look especially appetizing.
Or, try putting two different colored soups in one soup plate for a change.


The shape determines an appetizing arrangement for your vegetables as well: Leave small vegetable types like spring peas, carrots and beans whole and cut vegetable types like zucchini or leek in long strips or round slices.

For arranging food appetizingly

How to arrange plates attractively

When arranging food, one principle applies: Less is more. Don’t overload plates. Find the right sized portions for the size of the plate. Food can get lost when a plate is overloaded, and it doesn't look very appetizing hanging over the edge. Consider how you want to arrange the food on the plates ahead of time. Classic or extravagant - the main components of your dish should be placed in the center of the plate.


Filling side dishes like rice or couscous can be shaped attractively in a ring mold. Then you can drape the fish or meat on top of it. Spaghetti can be quickly and easily turned into nests.

Use sauces sparingly. Less is more here. It is better to serve the sauce in a sauce boat so that everyone can take as much as they want. For an overall attractive impression, spread a dollop of sauce on the plate and then arrange roast slices on top.

Salads look especially appealing when they have good contrasts - for instance, crispy green arugula leaves with red cherry tomatoes.

For dessert, bright fruit or chocolate sauces add a colorful accent. Whether you’re serving vanilla ice cream or yogurt, a berry sauce is always an eye-catcher.

Garnish dishes in style

A mint leaf on a delicately melting frozen dessert, or freshly chopped nuts as a topping - garnishes give lovingly prepared meals the finishing touch. You can add the last dot of color with garnishes or use them to fill empty space on a plate between the individual servings of food. Decorate your dishes exactly the way you imagine and want them to be. Be careful, however, to only use edible decorations and to make sure that the taste of the decorations complement the other food on the plate. Add croûtons or fresh cream patterns for soups, and for steak, you can arrange onion rings.

The bottom line

Arrange and decorate dishes as a taste experience for all senses

When you have invested a lot of time and effort into preparing your dishes, the stylish arrangement of the food completes the overall impression. Besides the aroma, the visual appearance is the first thing that is noticed. Artfully presented, decorated and garnished, a meal becomes a taste experience that addresses all of the senses and is irresistible to guests. For the complete presentation, what the food is arranged in is just as important as how it is arranged. The first step to effectively setting the scene for your lovingly prepared dishes is choosing the right tableware.

A small guide to arranging cutlery

You can find out how to arrange cutlery with confidence
in our etiquette guide

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