If you think that good plating, that is, the design of the products on the plate, is more of a coincidence, or simply skill or talent, you are very much mistaken. That was the tenor of an exciting round of talks we held during the Foodblogger Camp.
Of course, skill and talent helps, as in all aspects of life. Experience is also useful, as well as a sense of harmony, colors and shapes. An open eye for the never-ending stream of images in current cookbooks and on the web is also an advantage (good places to start, for example, are various thematic boards on Pinterest).
Sometimes trends and current topics also play a role. Beautiful and unusual, preferably individual tableware, such as available at the online store Urbanara, can be both inspiration and the engine for new creative ideas.
But besides all that, plating is one thing above all: work. Experimentation, creativity, planning and the gift of craftsmanship to be able to implement exactly what has been conceived.
Coincidentally, almost in deepening these thoughts, I came across a current exhibition at the Drawing Center in New York, the content of which is exclusively the sketches of Ferran Adrià. Sketches dealing exclusively with this very subject, plating.
The exhibition emphasizes the role of drawing in Adrià’s quest to understand creativity. His complex body of work positions the medium as both a philosophical tool-used to organize and convey knowledge, meaning, and signification–as well as a physical object-used to synthesize over twenty years of innovation in the kitchen. (…) Hundreds of notebooks have been filled with concepts, ideas, collaged photographs, and loose sketches for new dishes for elBulli. More straightforward creative methods in the form of lists, tables of ingredients, and cooking methods have also been used to synthesize ingredients and conceptualize new ways of cooking. The use of drawing to articulate cuisine as both a product and a concept is indicative of a creative model that is always in flux.