One of the best sayings I’ve learned as a professional chef is:

We Eat with Our Eyes First

Get the "wow factor” going from the moment your guests catch glimpse of your nibblies, and the room will instantly buzz with what a great spread you’ve put on (and a little envy of your skills too!).

Follow these FIVE presentation tricks of mine, and you will transform your appetizer plates from this:

To this:

Chef Amy’s Guidelines for Creating Irresistible Appetizers:

  1. The Colour Wheel is Your Best Friend. Certain colours naturally pair incredibly together, just like certain ingredients. This is a secret that food stylists live by. When choosing what plates to serve food on, what ingredients to incorporate in a dish, and where to set dishes on a buffet, think about what colours look great together. Your food will instantly start to pop in new and refreshing ways.
  2. Set Things Straight. Items that are lined up neatly in unison, rather than in a messy scramble, naturally please our eyes. Line up matching appetizers in common rows that run horizontal, vertical, diagonal, or in half moons. You will notice an instant difference. Don’t forget to leave a little space in between each, or go for a consistent overlap.
  3. It’s Like Clockwork. Think of each appetizer as a clock. Within your tidy rows, line all of your “little clocks” up in the same direction, especially the garnishes. If your items don’t have a garnish, add one!
  4. Sometimes Less is More. Rather than cramming all your hors d’oeuvres onto a platter, leave the ones that don’t fit and use them to replenish.
  5. Sometimes More is More. A funny thing happens when a plate of appetizers gets down to the last few. People stop reaching for them. We have a handy 10% rule in catering. When your platter gets down to the remaining 10%, replenish it! And, suddenly your guests will all be wanting more. 

Attending a catered event? Take a moment to study a stunning platter and notice just how many of these tricks have been put into practice. My bet is all of them! 

So, why not have fun with your hors d’oeuvres this holiday season? Try some of these tricks and let me know how it turns out. Not sure how to platter something? Post your questions here, or on the Say-She-Ate Facebook page, and I will be sure to offer my suggestions.


- Chef Amy

Food is our passion; we are excited to share it with you.