How to Garnish Food

People eat with their eyes before the food ever hits their stomachs. Adding a garnish increases the visual appeal of a dish. Popular garnishes to use on plates are edible and easy to prepare. Some garnishes are more complex, such as carving tomatoes into rosebuds. You don't have to wait to be served at the local popular eatery to add zest, plate presentation and eye appeal to everyday home-cooked meals.

Things You'll Need

  • Ramekins Fruits Vegetables Cheeses Spices Vegetable carving knife Melon baller Tomato shark Fork Cookie cutters


    • 1

      Choose the right colors to present your entree with more appeal. You know which colors to blend when you put your clothes on, and garnishing your dishes should apply the same consideration. Even the side dishes you choose should enhance the plate, but if the garnish you choose upsets the color scheme and order, it will take away from the visual appeal of the plate.

    • 2

      Serve favorite condiments, salad dressings, dipping sauces or small servings of soup in ramekins. Place a leaf of green or Oriental kale beneath the ramekin to garnish the dish.

    • 3

      Score a favorite vegetable (with edible skin) with a fork and then slice it and serve it on a bed of lettuce with vinegar or a favorite dressing served in a small ramekin on the side.

    • 4

      Slice or wedge edible fruits or vegetables to enhance the plate presentation and add a bonus treat to the entree. A seafood entree can simply use a lemon wedge with a sprig of parsley with a ramekin of cocktail sauce. A slice of orange and a halved strawberry placed on top will enhance almost any breakfast entree and can be gobbled up after the breakfast.

    • 5

      Crisscross asparagus stems with balls of butter (use a melon baller on softened butter or margarine) and sprinkled with dry parsley or another favorite spice.

    • 6

      Carve vegetables into fun shapes for children using a vegetable carving knife, tomato shark or melon baller to add delicious fun to their plate and entice them to eat the vegetables. For fancier garnishing for adult plates, carve tomatoes or lemons into rosebuds (see Resources).

    • 7

      Cut favorite cheeses into shapes using a carving knife or slice the cheese thinly and use a cookie cutter to make fun and edible shapes. Grated cheese served in a ramekin on a leaf of green or red leaf lettuce also allows the eater to apply the amount they desire for their entree and makes a nice garnish.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use your imagination by applying these steps and suggestions to make your own garnishes, using favorite fruits, vegetables and herbs.
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