Story On A Plate

Dulce Patria | Ella Canta "Photo Jean Cazals, Story on a Plate, gestalten 2019"

The Delicate Art of Plating Dishes

Whether you're seeking to learn, need a break from reality or want to delve into another world, 'Story On A Plate' will do just that. Conceived and edited by Berlin based publisher Gestalten, 'Story on a Plate: The Delicate Art of Plating Dishes' encourages its readers to introduce a new form of eating to their everyday meals.

The preface sets the scene of the book in a succinct and descriptive way ‘Whether it’s an eye-popping meditation on rhubarb served in Amsterdam, an egg nestled on a bed of hay in London, or a whimsical ode to honey in Hong Kong, these are dishes that will whet both your appetite and imagination’ in summary, Gestalten is saying that food is cultural. It becomes clear, that the way we arrange, stage and consume food always mirrors society and is a statement of the zeitgeist. It is a fashion trend of its own, designed and created by the leading chefs and restaurateurs of the time.

You are guided through six main areas, or perhaps we should refer to them as ‘courses’: Tools, Colour, Texture, Ceramics, Aroma and Shape. All displaying simple ideas and techniques to help design your own plates using both art form and storytelling. You will learn subconsciously by using step-by-step tutorials and a tool list. A number of sample dishes help you with ideas, subtly influencing your practice. You’ll come across detailed interviews which explain how you can create dishes and how to best present them to your guests. This book is offering learning in a form that is so aesthetically pleasing to the reader that they may not even be aware that they are learning new skills.

Photo Maurice Fransen, "Story on a Plate, gestalten 2019“

"new even to experienced food professionals"

All the chapters offer rich historical details, some of which may be new even to experienced food professionals. Within each section you’ll read about the experiences of chefs who’ve changed the plating of their food for the good, how it has influenced the way they cook, and how in some cases it has taken their career on a different path.

Photo Signe Birck, "Story on a Plate, gestalten 2019"

Photo Chris Tonnesen, "Story on a Plate, gestalten 2019"

Within the first section you will find the story of Matt Orlando and how he found sustainability within food. Using ingredients, tools and space to influence the plating of his food. Read how Orlando transformed his restaurant to embrace a new philosophy around the subject of food waste. The book contains a quote from Orlando in which he states ‘One pet peeve (he has) about plating, is when food is spread out across the plate with a small dot of vinaigrette or sauce and the waiter says, Okay make sure you get a bit of everything when you take a bite’. This is a perfect reflection on this book, it is about appreciating the food you have in front of you, knowing what it is and knowing that great food is not just about ‘fine-dining’ However, as you read on you will start to appreciate how fine-dining is influencing and promoting the experience of dining. It’s telling the diner that there’s much more to ‘fine-dining’ than just the food on the plate. It’s about the technology, it’s about the storytelling, it’s definitely about food as art.

Another chef featured, Martha Ortiz has used the power of food to channel her Mexican culture. She has promoted her passion about Mexican Culture, its art, history and even more so the influence of Mexican women on its culture. She uses this passion, and by incorporating vibrant colours along with bold plating, she takes her audience on a journey, telling them a story along the way. Dining with Martha is all about the journey food can take you on.

With each section you’ll discover the experiences of such gastronomic chefs as, Luca Rosati, Youji Iwakura and Jenny Dorsey all of whom have changed their attitude and approach to food through its plating.

This book is both inspiring and informative whilst at the same time provocative with its imaginative use of imagery. Simply, it teaches how the plating of food can change the dining experience, enhancing food, whether that be fine or simple.


Cover “Story on a Plate, gestalten 2019”


Article by our Germany correspondent Inés Lauber.