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Enhancing Food Presentation

Enhancing Food Presentation

Planning a design before arranging a spread will greatly enhance the visual appeal and practicality of a buffet presentation. (photo by the CIA)

Culinary Institute of America

Practical Considerations in Food Presentation: Function and Meaning

A good design serves a function. The function of a buffet is to serve the guest. Therefore, a properly devised buffet design places foods logically. Guests should be able to tell what they are eating. They should be able to reach the food easily, and to find all the appropriate service tools, including plates and silverware, positioned where they are easy to see and easy to reach. If there is a chance that a food might cause an allergic reaction, guests should be warned, either through placards or a printed menu or by positioning knowledgeable wait staff on the line. The design and layout should account for keeping foods properly heated or chilled and safe from cross contamination. These elements of the overall design must be accounted for first.

Guests typically expect that a buffet will provide a wide array of choices as well as the option to take as much as they like of any offering. The design of a buffet should support this expectation. At this stage of banquet planning, menu items have already been scrutinized for their costs, appropriateness to the theme, and customer acceptance. The banquet chef next begins to apply design principles and elements. The result is a composition that is echoed throughout every part of the buffet, from a single, tiny garnish on an individual canapé to ice carvings and display buffets.

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