Tips to make your dishes look appetizing

Illustration of stacks of pancakes
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If you like to cook or assemble quick snacks for yourself, you’ve probably encountered many instances where you wanted to cherish your work by taking a photo. However, the camera often just doesn’t do your culinary creation justice and cannot capture the full experience of the dish. Whether you’ve prepared a plate of meat or a simple yogurt bowl, here are some tips for accessorizing and garnishing your dish to make it look more appetizing to the eye and camera!

For meat and soup: Sprinkle parsley

Whether you’ve made a steak or a classic chicken noodle soup, add a sprinkle of parsley flakes to give it a seasoned look. The shade of brown or red that the meat cooks and the light color of many soups contrast well with the deep green parsley flakes. The parsley can be replaced or paired with other herbs such as sage, basil and rosemary. A sprinkle of pepper seasoning is also a great substitute that adds flavor.

For savory Asian dishes: Sprinkle sesame seeds

My go-to college meals involve rice topped with proteins such as fried egg, seasoned beef and teriyaki or orange chicken. I also enjoy making Chapagetti (a brand of instant black bean noodles) and tteokbokki once in a while. Whenever I make these dishes, I make sure to add a finishing touch with sesame seeds to make the food look more appealing and increase my appetite. Sesame seeds add a hint of nutty flavor and look great on a lot of umami and spicy dishes.

For salad and vegetables: Add dried fruit or grated Parmesan cheese

If you’ve made yourself a salad with a variety of greens, a pop of vibrant color can add a great finishing touch. Try topping salads with dried fruits such as raisins and cranberries or, if you can get some, edible flowers. Grated Parmesan cheese is also a great option to add a familiar flavor while adding a contrast of color.

For sweet dishes and soft desserts: Accessorize with nuts

For your sweet breakfast dish, an afternoon snack or a post-meal dessert, try topping your plate with nuts. You can choose one or multiple types of nuts, and you can customize them to complement your food. For a softer effect, try crushing and sprinkling the nuts. For yogurt and pudding, I recommend almonds, cashews and pistachios. For baked goods such as banana bread and pumpkin pie, try walnuts, pecans or crushed macadamia nuts!

For fruit and harder-textured dessert: Add powdered sugar or whipped cream

You’ve cut up a handful of various fruits and organized them perfectly on the plate. You’ve drizzled honey and scattered cinnamon on your waffle or pancake, but you still feel like something is missing. Try sprinkling powdered sugar or adding whipped cream either on the top or to the side. These foods that resemble the texture of snow add a wonderland effect to make your food more appetizing while balancing any sourness in the fruit.

We hope these tips will come in handy when you’re preparing your next meal or snack! Aesthetics often make up half of the taste — by adding an extra finishing touch to jazz up your food, you can enjoy your food even more and make it picture-perfect for Instagram.

Contact Euna Jo at [email protected].