Behind a beautiful dish there’s a plate to present it. Since we start sitting at the table to share a meal, the plates are as important as the food itself. And other accessories like cutlery and glassware shouldn’t be left behind. The enjoyment of sharing a meal is part of our lives however the basic dinnerware has given way to ornamental pieces, colourful tableware and what before was just a necessity, it’s now essential.
It doesn’t matter if you are a home cook or a famous chef, after spending hours preparing the food, you need something appropriate to serve your food. You will look for a plate, a tray a platter or a bowl that fits your food perfectly from the kitchen to the table.
In the hospitality industry, nowadays more than ever, chefs are paying attention to deliver a unique experience to their customer. And the way they will present their piece of art is taken into consideration more. If this is done well, the food, the people, the place and the ambience combined will create something very special.
The customer is also more demanding now, as going out for a nice meal either with family, a date, friends or colleagues is part of their weekly routine. And there is so much to choose from. All kinds of cuisines, styles and budgets. A place can be found with a couple of clicks on the smart phone. The patron expects to have an incredible and remarkable experience, not just to be fed.
“Foodies” are the new trend and they are big influencers on the consumers at the moment. The modern “Foodie” is a person with a particular interest in food and they share their photos, comments and experiences on the social media, promoting or denigrating places, the chef, the food revealing to the whole world what they saw in front of them. And they show not just the food but the presentation. The special touch, the garnish, the mix of colours. And the plates!
Therefore, the chefs and owners of the hospitality establishments are now extending their sight from the food to the big picture when choosing their tableware.
Their decision will define something they will likely use for years. There are important aesthetic, financial and material decisions to make when choosing dinnerware. Is the place casual or formal? Is it a three course meal restaurant or everything is to be shared? All of these will impact not just on the decision of the material but also the size and shape of the plates.
After deciding this, there are other points to consider. The tables are smaller than before and they need to fit the plates, side dishes, serving plates, cutlery, glassware and some accessories in a small space sometimes shared by four people.
And besides the visual and the budget constraints, having versatile pieces is very important. A plate/bowl that can be used for many dishes of the menu can be a smart decision too. Restaurants lack space for storage. Plates need to be stackable. What about the rush when cleaning the tables and the turn over? The dinnerware needs to be resistant and dishwasher proof. In a busy night, no one will carry the dirty plates like crystals.
And after taking everything already said in consideration, let’s focus now on the visual fact only. Coloured plates or more specifically stoneware or earthware are very trendy at the moment and will be around for at least the next 3-4 years. This is no longer an Asian fashion, they are everywhere.
Beautiful dinnerware is now part of the dish. Chefs choose them carefully with the same excitement that they choose the raw ingredient, spices and herbs in the markets. They like the variety of formats, organic shapes, a bit of depth for the sauce and the contrast with the food that can be achieved. In their mind they wonder how the food will look positioned on that plate. They smile.
And the customer is also paying attention to the fact that people on the same table have their food served in different plates. And they appreciate it and comment with the others. Cameras register that moment. The wow effect when the food is placed in front of the diner.
Not forgetting to mention the importance of the basic white rimmed porcelain that seems to be dying slowly. They will always be around for banqueting, it’s made by hard material (porcelain or bone china), more durable and easy to carry and stack. You can’t vary much in a big function, it’s either a round main plate or a bowl. Also they still work well for fine dining. They can mix and match with accessories. Chefs and owner of fine dining restaurants stick to the white plates. But the boring white rimmed plate is now giving space to different shapes and patterns. Large rims, deep bowls, handmade pieces.
It doesn’t matter taste or style, plates and food is a long lasting marriage making modern consumers appreciate their culinary experience.