Kristen Kish's Advice For Garnishing Your Food

Taste is obviously one of the most important factors of a meal, but it's the presentation of it that makes us want to take out our phones and snap a picture before digging in. In fact, research shows that sight plays a huge part in our perception of food, as it tips our brain off on how it should taste before we even get the chance to take a bite (via The Guardian). As a result, plating, which Nisbets defines as the "process of arranging and decorating food to enhance its presentation," has become a major factor in the culinary world that holds just as much weight as the cooking itself.

You don't need to be the chef de cuisine at a fancy five-star restaurant to practice the art of plating, either. Whether you're hosting a dinner party for friends and family or simply want to elevate your own meal after a long day at work, giving your dishes a boost in the visual department can go a long way in the overall experience of eating your food. For those just getting into the art of plating, adding a garnish can be a quick and easy way to create a visually stunning meal, and luckily, Top Chef winner Kristen Kish has shared some great advice on how to go about choosing the right one.

Kristen Kish likes garnishes that are both beautiful and flavorful

There are many ways to improve the presentation of a meal, but there's no need to bust out your paintbrushes and draw an art-gallery worthy design out of sauce on your plate. A simple garnish can be just the thing to take your food from looking good to looking great — so long as you make sure to pick the right one. For Kish, that means choosing a garnish that does more than just make a dish visually appealing. "I like a garnish that has a purpose," she told Bravo, noting that the best ones will also "pack a punch." So what could those be? 

Cilantro is one that probably comes to mind, but the "Fast Foodies" host also suggested lemon zest, summer mint leaves, and shredded basil as potential options. "That not only adds flavor but also adds that pretty factor on top of your food," she said. The chef also encourages thinking outside of the box when it comes to adding a garnish to a dish. In her book, "Kristen Kish Cooking: Recipes and Techniques," the chef described a creative way to get more out of expensive seafood by removing the fish skin and frying it to make what she called "fish chicharrons" (via Food 52). So there you have it, expert garnishing advice straight from the mouth of one of the prestigious winners of "Top Chef" to take your food presentation skills to the next level. Happy plating!