A plate of food beautifully decorated and presented is a work of art. It pleases the eye, stimulates the brain and tempts the palate. The plate becomes the canvas and the sauces are the medium with which the chef creates the masterpiece. The medium, or sauce, is then eaten with the food, enhancing the taste and experience. Sauces must be the right consistency. They must be smooth and creamy and have enough body that they do not mix with the other food. Several different designs can be created to enhance the look of your food. With a little practice, your expertise grows.
Pour a thin layer of cream sauce on a plate. Draw very thin concentric circles, using a teaspoon or paper pastry bag. Think of a target when drawing the circles. Start with a point in the centre. Make a thin circle around the point. Next, make a thin circle around the previous circle and so on. Make several circles.
Using a long toothpick, pull some lines from the outer circle toward the centre point. Then pull some lines from the centre point out to the edge. Lift the toothpick each time you draw a line. This creates a web effect. Use this for ice cream and similar foods.
Make small stars.
Pour any dark sauce made from wine onto the plate. Drop some randomly placed dots of saffron sauce on top of the wine sauce. Put a toothpick in the centre of the each drop, pull toward the outside of the drop and pull the toothpick around the drop, creating a small star from each drop. Place your meat or entrée in this sea of small stars.
Put a layer of white sauce on the plate. Using a pastry bag, draw thin parallel lines at different distances from each other with a sauce made from peas. Take the spatula comb and pass it over the surface of the sauce, without interruptions, in a perpendicular path to the lines. This gives the effect of waves. This makes a fun presentation for fish.
Craft small stars from liquid custard.
Pour a layer of the custard on the plate, covering the entire surface evenly. Make a sauce from mixed berries. Put the sauce into a paper pastry bag with a tiny opening. Press out small points of sauce along the edges of the plate in the general shape of a crown or other object of choice.
Using a toothpick, start at the first point, drag the toothpick to the second point. Drag the toothpick from the second to the third, and so on, until you have made a crown of small hearts linked together by the thin lines of sauce. If you do not want to draw a crown, choose any object you can easily create on the plate by connecting the dots. Use this on fruit desserts.
Get creative using your own sauces. Remember, the consistency of the sauce is the key to good decorating.