The Art of Plating: A Feast for the Eyes

Written by | Food & Wine, Wellness

It’s been said that we first eat with our eyes; so foodies have long appreciated the value of proper presentation to the success of a dish.

By Gayle Van Wely

Photo By Gayle Van Wely

Photo By Gayle Van Wely

That’s truer than ever now, since people increasingly experience food through television and social media. Not to say that style trumps substance: most of us would rather create meals that are delicious and healthy. But along the way, let’s take into account which colors and textures make an ideal complement as well. For example in the plate above, the delicate color of our protein (grouper) is framed by the contrasting colors of its accompaniments. On the right, note the variety of hues and shapes in the healthy combination of charred garlic oil corn, red chicory, sunflower microgreens, and blackberries. On the left — echoing the color of the corn — vibrant yellow circles of our sauce (a ponzu, white wine and egg yolk aioli) form circles that are attractive and keep the sauce portions controlled. As you continue to experiment with how different elements on your plate relate to one another, remember that less is more and symmetry is beautiful. Try mixing this delicious, surprisingly light aioli to add flair to your next presentation:



  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • ¼ c. extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ c. grapeseed oil
  • ½ tsp Dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp citrus ponzu
  • ½ garlic clove, minced


  1. In a blender (or using an emersion blender), combine the egg yolks, garlic, mustard, vinegar, ponzu citrus. Seasoning is optioinal. I like to season with fresh ground white or black pepper and a touch of garlic powder.
  2. With the motor running, add the grape and olive oils in a slow, steady streams until fully incorporated.

*If not serving immediately, it will keep (refrigerated) for 3 to 4 days.

Last modified: July 16, 2017