There’s no denying that some of the dishes coming out of the UK’s Michelin-starred restaurants these days are like little edible works of art. Plonking a bit of gold leaf on some food just doesn’t cut it anymore; we live in a world of micro-herbs, dry ice, blowtorches and bespoke ceramics, all utilised to present a dish in the best possible way.
But there’s always the risk that in the quest for beauty, chefs can prune their dishes to such an extent that there’s hardly anything on the plate (remember the extremes of the Nouvelle Cuisine movement in the 1980s?), leaving diners wondering why they’ve forked out so much for something they can eat in two bites. The aesthetics of a dish are obviously important, but some would argue that if a plate of food doesn’t leave you satisfyingly full afterwards, it hasn’t done its job.
Of course, that’s not to say that giant plates of food are always slopped on the plate without any thought going into the presentation. But how important are looks? Do we eat with our eyes as much as our mouths? Some of the recipes over on Great Italian Chefs certainly prove presentation is at the very heart of some dishes.