How To Plate Like A Pro, According To Jet Tila - Exclusive

We judge food not only by taste but also by presentation. No one wants to eat food that looks bad. If you are cooking up food for yourself or for a dinner party, you are probably looking for any tricks to help bring your meal presentation to the next level, and Chef Jet Tila is here to help. Tila is wildly accomplished, having worked as head chef at restaurants such as The Charleston and Pakpao Thai, and having competed on shows such as "Iron Chef America" and "Guy's Grocery Games: Delivery: All-Star Noodles," the latter of which he won. Now he is helping home chefs learn some of the tips and tricks that professionals use to keep their presentations spotless.

Mashed caught up with Jet Tila for an exclusive interview at the 2023 South Beach Wine & Food Festival, where he revealed what his number one tip is for plating like a pro.

Size matters

Jet Tila shares many of his tricks over on his Instagram page, but there is one trick that he sets above the rest, and that is a technique taught to him by a friend and colleague, Chef Alex Guarnaschelli. "I give all credit here to Alex Guarnaschelli, who helped me unlock this," said Tila. 

As it turns out, the trick proves that size does matter. Tila advised that when plating, it is essential to choose the right dish. "Get a [small] plate or a plate that has a little coup in the middle, like a little bowl," Tila continued. "Using a small vessel forces you to put all your courses close together, which gives you height [and] symmetry. Food that's tighter together looks more fancy on the mind versus things that are just thrown about. That's a fast way to plate nice. You can make something super simple like chili, like barbecue — any dish can look fancier when you plate it tightly."

Home cooks can use this simple hack to elevate their dishes to camera-ready cuisine.

Jet Tila's drunken noodles are available now at Pei Wei. The South Beach Wine & Food Festival takes place annually in South Beach, Florida.