Does Presentation Matter in the Culinary Arts?

Cheese plater
Photo by Liz Joseph on Unsplash

This is one of those topics that will be heavily debated over for centuries to come, and for good reason. When it comes to food and drink, it would make sense to think that the only thing that really matters is how they taste. After all, that’s what you’re consuming and tasting, so wouldn’t that be the only thing that matters? Some would actually say no. How the food or drink is presented is pretty dang important as well, and here’s why.

The Experience is Important

When we sit down to eat something, we’re not just judging it based on what flavors were added to it. We’re not just judging its texture, or how long it was cooked. We’re taking in the entire experience we’re having, from the chair we’re sitting in, to the type of plate, to the silverware, to the manner in which it was served.

Sending a Message

Everything about our experience usually needs to be congruent with the message that we feel the cook is trying to send. In other words, you’d never expect to receive a dainty, clean hamburger from a food truck outside—and you wouldn’t want to.

You don’t want to drink beer out of a fancy glass when you’re at a frat party and red solo cups are the norm. And finally, when you’re at a fancy restaurant, you’d be pretty darn ticked off if your food was served with plastic silverware. This affects your experience, and whether or not you want to admit it, this affects the way the food tastes, as well.