Plate Like A Star Studded Chef: Food Presentation and How to Do It

Words: Emma Nkunzana

With our TV’s being flooded with shows like Chefs Table and the rise of digital scrapbooks like Instagram, it’s no wonder food presentation has reached cult-like status. If you’ve ever aspired to recreate your own culinary masterpiece but are a bit intimidated by the chef-y tweezers, we’ve got you covered. Our recipe roundup showcasing amazing food presentation will have you plating like a Michelin-starred chef.

Next Level Food Presentation

One of the benefits of great food presentation is that you can take a seemingly easy recipe, plate it well and your guest will believe you’ve spent ages at work.

food presentation lasagne
food presentation roast chicken


Typically, one-dish family-style meals aren’t the most attractive, but when plated individually you’ll have more artistic freedom. Get all your separate elements ready and then get creative.

Recipe for Lasagne

Roast Chicken

The humble roast chicken is turned into a work of art in this recipe. Start with a blank canvas, i.e. a plain plate, so that your veggies really pop off the plate.

Recipe for Roast Chicken

food presentation chicken kiev
food presentation potato black mushroom soup

Chicken Kiev

Bring this Ukrainian 18th-century cult classic into the modern era with this quinoa crusted recipe. It’s all about the packaging!

Recipe for Chicken Kiev

Potato & Black Mushroom Soup

If yin and yang had a flavour it would be this harmony of velvety rich mushroom soup, surrounded by creamy potato soup. Soups are a great way to have fun, add droplets of flavoured creams and oils and use the tip of a knife to make geometric shapes.

Recipe for Potato & Black Mushroom Soup

Cook by Colours

There’s no need to add artificial colouring to your food when it already has such amazing colour! Get creative with colourful fruit and vegetables.

food presentation
food presentation

Cape Greens With Avocado & Prawn Parcel

A striking dish that is surprisingly simple and a little bit secretive… that beautiful fanned avo is hiding a parcel of delicious prawn mix.

Recipe for Cape Greens

Textures of Beetroot Salad

This dish combines so many different textures and we love how it brings brightness and vibrancy to this humble veg.

Recipe for Beetroot Salad

Think outside the plate

These dishes were created by some of our favourite local chefs, we tasked them with creating a dish inspired by art. They drew inspiration from music, paintings and periods of art, we hope you’re equally as inspired.

food presentation Pan Seared langoustine
food presentation pan seared scallop

Pan Seared Langoustine Saffron Monkfish

Let a painting inspire you as it did chef Peter Templehoff, who drew inspiration from Van Gogh’s, Starry Night, with this dish.

Recipe for Pan Seared Langoustine Saffron Monkfish

Pan Seared Scallop & Mango Soup

This dish was inspired by surrealism, with the use of cabbage as eyelashes, the central focus of the scallop and a mysterious pool of mango soup all combining to form the shape of an eye, the window to our souls and stomachs.

Recipe for Pan Seared Scallop & Mango Soup

Pickled Roasted Squid Heads

Let your plate be your a blank canvas and your humble veggies become paint in this squid dish decorated with beetroot, carrot and olive purée.

Recipe for Pickled Roasted Squid Heads


Inspired by the song Taking It Easy, by Good Luck, this dish is a playful and delicious.

Recipe Seafood Potjie with Miso Sand and Squid Ink Toast

Sublime Seafood Salad

A delicate mix of the freshest seafood, with the punchy flavours of ceviche and a creamy prawn remoulade.

Recipe for Seafood Salad

Oysters With Pickled Watermelon, Wasabi Emulsion Quinoa Puffs & Nori

Shucked oysters are paired with pickled watermelon and a dash of wasabi heat.

Recipe for Oysters with Pickled Watermelon

Sweet Sensations

Desserts are a great way to release your inner Da Vinci. Pipe and temper to culinary stardom with these recipes.

food presentation Fruit Salad Panna Cotta
food presentation Pink Chocolate Berries

Fruit Salad with Panna Cotta & Blueberry Leather

Who said anything about fruit salad being boring!

Recipe for Fruit Salad

Pink Chocolate & Berries

This recipe comes with its own edible bowl, now that’s some wow factor!

Recipe Pink Chocolate & Berries

Decadent Coffeee & Chocolate Dessert

This dessert combines quite a few coffee and chocolate elements, so set aside some time to create each one and leave time at the end to put it all together.

Recipe for Coffee & Chocolate Dessert

Crispy Crunchy Hazelnut Chocolate

A chocolate cylinder, with a delicate mousse, poached pear, chocolate crumble and a vanilla and salted caramel sauce.

Recipe for Crispy Crunchy Hazelnut Chocolate

Loved these cheffy dishes? Check out art in a different form as we visit Cape Town chefs and take a closer look at their tattoos.

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