Unless you’re treating your guests to a cheeseboard, dessert is going to be the last course of any dinner party. This means it’s also probably the one most people are going to remember, so putting just a little extra effort in can make all the difference. Obviously it has to taste good, but even the most amazing dessert in the world isn’t going to excite the senses if it’s just thrown together on a plate.
That’s why presentation is of the utmost importance – something Daniel Fletcher knows all too well. He has worked in Michelin-starred kitchens across London, New York and Melbourne, creating desserts that look like works of art. However, he’s keen to stress flavour should always be a priority. ‘Presentation is key in all aspects of cooking,’ he says. ‘But I think there is a lot more freedom when it comes to pastry and desserts as there are so many different techniques that allow you to showcase the food in a variety of ways. They say you eat with your eyes, which I agree with to a certain extent, but for me the taste is more important. I like to think that guests will remember the amazing flavour of a dessert rather than how it looks.
‘One thing I always ensure when presenting a dish is to let the star ingredients shine,’ continues Daniel. ‘Don’t add too many other components, or you’ll mask the flavours you’re trying to create. I also think it’s important to try a few different plating styles and then to get the input of the chefs around you. Sometimes another point of view can give you a different perspective on the dish.’