Glorious Food by Gill Potterton

Glorious Food by Gill Potterton

"Although Catering is my main business, I love to do Cookery Demonstrations and Tastings, as well as food writing for local publications, as this enables me to share my passion for good food with a wider audience."

In the Kitchen with Gill Potterton - All about Presentation Dishes

Monday, 6th October 2008

In my cooking, the quality of the ingredients is paramount, but coming a close second is the importance of the presentation of the finished dish. Most of us ‘eat with our eyes’, before the food gets anywhere near our mouth so it is vital the food in front of us appeals to the eye, as well as the taste buds. Visual approval can actually stimulate the taste buds, by raising expectations of the taste experience to come; alternatively poor presentation can lower those expectations, even to the point of putting the diner right off his food before picking up his cutlery!

The ideal presentation of food on the plate is of course subjective. The judges, and obviously the contestants on the BBC Master Chef series and other food programs clearly have widely different opinions on presentation. It seems to me there is a fine line between food being described as ‘rustic-looking’, which is acceptable and ‘messy’, which is not. Food which is judged to be ‘clean and precise’, to me sometimes looks too clinical to actually eat. Furthermore, when numerous elements of a dish have been painstakingly arranged like a work of art on a plate, I do wonder if my meal will be stone cold by the time I come to eat it!

For me, whether entertaining at home, catering professionally, or presenting my Cookery Demonstrations at Priory Farm, the style, colour and size of serving plates, dishes or bowls are all-important in creating the right effect. So over the years I have accumulated a vast array of crockery, and part of the fun of the cooking is perfecting the presentation of my food. One of my favourite places to shop for beautiful tableware is The Art of Living in Reigate, or, if making the trip to Bluewater, I cannot avoid spending money in John Lewis. But of course, working at Priory Farm, I have plenty of beautiful crockery, glassware and cookware to choose from in the wonderful Gift Department, so I really am spoilt for choice. In addition, I would recommend both Lakeland and Scotts of Stow for mail order or online shopping; each offering practical and often unusual ideas, and excellent service.

White china is obviously the most versatile, as it goes with any other tableware or linen, but if you are a fan of Mediterranean, Asian or other types of cuisine, the food very often looks better in brightly coloured dishes, which can often be found individually in sales, or even charity shops. I have picked up various good-as-new bargains, discarded by previous owners, but useful additions to my hoard.

Please call Gill on 07590 621015 to discuss your requirements or email


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