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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

Arrangement of Items on a Line

Since a buffet line contains more than one offering or dish, give some thought to the sequence and arrangement of those dishes. Arrange dishes on the buffet line so that they are easy to see, easy to reach, and easy to serve.

What follows is a collection of general guidelines you can use to determine the best display sequence. Not every one will be useful for every type of buffet, though each of them has a practical purpose. Some of the most popular and creative solutions used in buffets today were arrived at only by creatively disregarding a widely accepted rule.

-Place plates where they are easy to see at the start of a line and at each independent station where they are easy to reach. They should also be easy for the wait staff to monitor and replenish. Utensils and napkins are best at the end of the line, so guests won’t have to juggle them as they make their selections.
-Keep foods that might drip or spill closest to the guests.
-Use pedestals and similar devices to lift some platters higher. This is especially effective when you need to save space or when you would like to control the service of expensive items.
-Keep hot foods near one another; likewise, group chilled foods in their own area.
-Place sauces and condiments directly with the foods they accompany so that guests understand how to use them. Each one should have its own underliner and a serving tool if required.

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