Ask The Trendspotters
Ask the Trendspotters is produced for StarChefs by

Laurie Blass and Pam Elder, e-learning designers specializing in web-based professional development programs for the foodservice industry. As food writers who have developed online continuing education courses for the Culinary Institute of America and others, they research up-to-date information on the latest trends and strategies busy culinary professionals need to know. (And ideas serious recreational cooks find interesting and useful, too.)

For Ask the Trendspotters, they'll be sifting through the best news sources on a regular basis to help you keep up with the latest in culinary concepts.

Just scan the Trendspotters' news regularly. You'll find information on the latest techniques and equipment, hot technology tips, and inspiring ingredient ideas. It's an easy way to jumpstart your creativity while improving your bottom-line.

Have a question? Ask the Trendspotters—your custom infoseeker for culinary ideas and answers!

Which one of the following topics interests you most?

tasting menus
restaurants critics' secrets
plate presentation
online resources for recipe and menu ideas

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Issue No. 4 - Beyond Parsley
Parley sprigs and flakes make a bright, easy accent for many dishes, but they can become boring quickly when overused.
By plating as creatively as possible, you can visually stimulate your diner's appetite and imagination. The most exciting plate presentations arouse interest and a sense of expectancy, then present food that tastes as good or even better than anticipated.
Here are some of the principles to keep in mind as you design plates for presentation:

The Concepts
Plate presentation concepts are the same as those of fine art: the chef-artist works with a palette of different colors, shapes, textures, and flavors, and arranges them with the principles of artistic composition in mind: balance, harmony, and contrast.

And the rules are simple. The most important thing to keep in mind is that the main ingredients remain the focal point. The way you showcase them should never overwhelm, clash with, or obscure them.

Add to these simple concepts an attempt to avoid repetition and trite standbys (such as the ubiquitous parsley), and you'll be able to create attractive, enticing plates every time.

The Tools
The most important, most dramatic tool a chef can use is the plate itself. Wide choices in color, shape, and size offer a multitude of opportunities to create harmony or contrast, or simply serve as a blank canvas that lets the food speak for itself.
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  #1 Today’s Diners are Different
  #2 New Ways with Vegetables
  #3 Dishing up Holiday Cheer
  #4 Beyond Parsley